Chester Preview – Friday

Magic Circle winning last season's Chester Cup

The Chester Cup takes place on Friday and it’s the highlight of the week on the Roodee. Last season it went to Magic Circle who went on to run in the Melbourne Cup and I wonder if any horses will progress to Melbourne this year?

There are some decent races to enjoy before the main event and we have previewed them below:

Grosvenor Handicap

Many people will be banking on Ptarmigan Ridge to get their day off to a flyer on Friday. Richard Hughes’s inmate won at the track last year and was second on reappearance at Haydock. He’s only three pounds higher now and holds leading claims.

Baraweez (Orange)

The ever-popular Baraweez loves this track and won this very race last year along with another handicap later that month. Brian Ellison’s veteran runs off the same mark as when winning last year and must enter calculations.

Love Dreams ran an absolute cracker to finish runner-up last week at Goodwood on seasonal debut. If this run doesn’t come too quick, then he’ll be hard to beat off just three-pounds higher.

I have followed Shady McCoy over a cliff on more than one occasion but at this stage Ian Williams’ charge hasn’t got his head in front since 2017. I can’t see the track suiting his hold up style and he’ll have to wait before winning again.

Of the outsider Dragons Tail for the Dascombe team shouldn’t be underestimated. He has won over the course twice and although he seems to have lost his form, a recent gelding operation along with a wind-op could spark improvement under SDS.

Selection: Dragons Tail

Huxley Stakes

Forest Ranger winning last season’s race

Six horses go to post for this Group 2 contest but only three would seem to hold a realistic chance of winning. Matterhorn has won seven of his ten career starts, all of which have come on the all-weather. He put in an incredible performance at Lingfield when demolishing a field including Wissahickon on Finals day. He finished third in a maiden on his only turf start so far and it’ll be intriguing to see can he transfer his ability to grass.

Last season’s Lincoln winner Addeybb looked good when winning the Group 2 Sandown Mile but disappointed twice at Group 1 level after those runs. I think he’ll come on for this run and I have doubts about his stamina over this far.

Forest Ranger took this contest last season and ran very well in the Earl of Sefton most recently. I think with the question marks having over his opposition he looks the one to side with.

Selection: Forest Ranger

Diamond Handicap

Frankuus

Restorer has the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle in a bid for back-to-back victories in this race. He ran off six pounds lower last season which is a concern but course form counts for plenty and he’ll be thereabouts.

The real improver in the race is Epaulement who seems to have found the winning groove of late. He’s only three-pounds higher than his last victory but is a big horse that may struggle on the track.

The well-bred Frankuus is a dual Group 3 winner who is down to a very workable mark. He finished second on reappearance last month and looks the one to beat.

Of the outsiders, Gossip Column catches the eye being a dual winner at the track last season.

Selection: Frankuus

Chester Cup

Willie Mullins is double-handed as he bids to seamlessly make the transition between winning big jump handicaps to winning big flat handicaps. Low Sun is the mount of Ryan Moore who does particularly well when teaming up with team Mullins. This gelded son of Champs Elysees was last seen winning the Cesarewitch but with a nine-pound penalty and a wide draw, I think he may struggle.

The other Mullins runner is Whiskey Sour who was well fancied to win the County Hurdle at Cheltenham and ran well to finish a close fourth. He hasn’t won on the flat since the 2017 Galway festival and although he could run well, I think he’s vulnerable for win purposes.

Austrian School (Blue Cap)

Austrian School looked very impressive when winning the Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh last Month. He gets in gets here off only three-ponds higher and is the one to beat.

Cleonte looks well in here after finishing third in a Group 3 on his reappearance last week. Andrew Balding’s charge finished third in last season’s Cesarewitch and if this race doesn’t come too soon then he should go close.

The Alan King-trained Who Dares Wins has finished fourth and third in the last two running’s of this contest and runs off a very similar mark here. He ran a fine race to finish third on reappearance and looks sure to be in the mix once again.

Selection: Who Dares Wins – E/W

Chester Preview – Friday
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