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Published 15.26 09/05
Sport has the capacity to deliver the most amazing highs, and sometimes lows: I think we can all agree on that after the last few days.
The final day of Chester’s Boodles May Festival on Friday has a lot to live up to in comparison, but at least you – as a punter – can choose your “team” on the day, based on evidence and analysis (or just hunch) and not on decades of blind allegiance. That is how I prefer it, though I am beginning to wonder!
Evidence and analysis may help you to unearth a good bet in the main event, the SportPesa Chester Cup at 3:35, and it led me to believe that AUSTRIAN SCHOOL was still worth backing despite him being favourite.
He has the right profile in being a younger horse, on an upward trajectory, running from a good draw (a much bigger issue than some acknowledge as I spelt out in a recent article for Timeform) and with form on both the course and soft going.
His last-time win under a big weight in an apparently competitive race at Musselburgh came by six lengths and identified Austrian School as being Group standard. That may well be for the future, but for now Austrian School gets to have a tilt at a valuable handicap under just a 3 lb penalty. He could take some stopping.
Hopefully that last comment applies also to ADDEYBB in the earlier Homeserve Huxley Stakes (due off at 2:25). He is well suited by soft ground – and that is what it just about was by Thursday – and is ready for an extended try at trips of around this mile and a quarter.
He is a better horse, if not by much, than last year’s winner Forest Ranger, who has a decent run at Newmarket under his belt, and will be better than all-weather freak Matterhorn unless that one takes to turf like the proverbial duck to water.
Do not be concerned that Addeybb has no recent run to his name. He was all set to attempt a repeat win in last month’s Mile at Sandown until being pulled out due to the quickening ground, and trainer William Haggas is in rattlingly good form.
Chief Ironside, Success Days and the aforementioned Matterhorn should ensure there is no hanging about in a six-runner field.
Forest Ranger is not the only returning winner from last year on Chester’s Friday card. Indeed, four of the first five events feature such.
Baraweez gets to go off just 2 lb higher than 12 months ago in the opening Liverpool Gin Earl Grosvenor Handicap at 1:50 but ran as if he will need another outing before hitting form on his recent reappearance.
The one I like here is DRAGONS TAIL, for all that his draw is not ideal in 11 of 16. He is another course-and-distance winner – from last July in his case – and somehow finds himself on a lower mark now despite running at least one good race over an insufficient distance late in the campaign.
Dragons Tailhas not exactly been consistent, but gelding and breathing operations since his last run promise to, ermmm, make a man of him, and first time up under the exceptional Silvestre De Sousa is the time to catch him.
There should be plenty of pace in this, but most of it is in the outside stalls and an inner draw may not be quite the advantage it usually is as a consequence.
Make sure you catch the flying Kachy in the 5f minor event at 4:10, shown exclusively on Sky Sports Racing, though his rivals probably won’t be able to. He was arguably the star of the latest all-weather season but is highly effective on turf and in going round a bend.
A betting proposition he probably isn’t, but a viewing proposition he most certainly is.
Simon's Best Bets (scale 1-5 points):
LIVERPOOL GIN EARL GROSVENOR HANDICAP, 1:50 CHESTER FRIDAY
1pt win DRAGONS TAIL (18-1 Ladbrokes, 16-1 Betfair Sportsbook, BetVictor, Coral, Paddy Power, William Hill)
HOMESERVE HUXLEY STAKES, 2:25 CHESTER FRIDAY
2pts win ADDEYBB (2-1 general)
SPORTPESA CHESTER CUP HANDICAP, 3:35 CHESTER FRIDAY
1 pt win AUSTRIAN SCHOOL (9-2 Coral, 4-1 general)