Today’s Horse Racing Preview, Thurs 5th May 2016

Felix To Feast In The Chester Opener?

It’s Day 2 of the Chester May Festival, with 7 more fantastic races for us all to enjoy. A 1m 2f handicap gets the ball rolling, at 2.10. Nathan Evans has the ride on Michael Easterby’s Felix De Vega. The partnership was successful, last time out, grabbing the spoils at Ripon. Evans has also steered Bowson Fred, Bionic Indian, Black Grass and Bajan Rebel to victory this term. Darshini should also be in the shake-up, with Ryan Moore booked to ride Sir Michael Stoute’s 4-year-old.

Cosgrave’s Huxley Hopes

Many expect the G3 Huxley Stakes to be a simple duel between Western Hymn and Cannock Chase. However, Pat Cosgrave may have the right horse under him to gatecrash their party in the shape of Battalion. Despite the gelding dwelling at the start, Cosgrave soon got him competitive at Lingfield in December and Battalion won by a length and a half from Energia Davos. The William Haggas-trained runner pulled way to hard, at Lingfield last time out and paid the price. However, if Battalion arrives at Chester with his thinking cap on today, Cosgrave has a steed he can go to war with.

Stablemates Vie For The Vase

Aidan O’Brien stablemates, US Army Ranger and Port Douglas, are up against each other, in today’s renewal of the G3 Chester Vase (3.10). Port Douglas will be ridden by Seamie Heffernan, who already has 11 victories in Ireland under his belt. Port Douglas won the G2 Beresford Stakes (back in September) and looks by far the better value, despite a polished winning debut from US Army Ranger at the Curragh. High Grounds was 3rd behind Midterm and Algometer, in the G3 Sandown Classic Trial, so he cannot be ruled out.

Greatrex Bond With Ian Fleming To Make Winning Sequel?

Edward Greatrex will be looking to make it 2 wins in a row, on Andrew Balding’s useful Mafki-sired gelding Ian Fleming, in the Boodles Diamond Handicap at 3.45. It was a close-run thing at Wolverhampton, with Sweet Dragon Fly beaten only by a nose, but it was a just reward for the intelligent and patient ride by Greatrex. Tom Dascombe’s Arcanada won at Doncaster, last time out, while his other runner (Above N Beyond) is much better than his recent outing at Lingfield would suggest.

Percy To Come Out On Top?

Percy Toplis can score, at the 3rd time of asking, in the 4.20. The juvenile showed signs of greenness, at both Southwell and Pontefract, but also plenty of ability. Shane Gray will again be in the saddle. His confidence should be sky-high, with a Listed win already in the locker and 4 more victories since then. The unraced Mehmas looks the biggest threat, with Frankie Dettori on-board Richard Hannon’s Acclamation colt.

Connections of Celebration could be popping corks, after the 4.55. He was beaten by Reflektor, at Thirsk, but Richard Fahey’s inmate comes out for round 2 on significantly better terms. It’s been a dry last few days for Tony Hamilton, but he has a great chance of bagging his first win since Baltic Beau won on debut at Redcar.

Burano And Burkett Can Give O’Meara A Boost

The final race on the card is the 5.25 and Shelley Birkett has the ride on David O’Meara’s Burano. It’s been almost a year since the 7-year-old last won, but the Dalakhani gelding stayed on well to finish runner-up at Doncaster and could get back to winning ways today. Birkett is in terrific nick and has won 3 times in 2016, always at long odds (Attain 7/1, Dandyleekie 12/1 and Hit The Jackpot 14/1).

Cottersrock should give Martin Keighley a winner, in the 2.00 at Uttoxeter. Andrew Tinkler will be on-board, after picking up a win at Exeter on Tuesday. There’s a very good handicap at Newton Abbot (3.20), with Michael Legg teaming-up with Karinga Dancer. There’s also evening racing at Carlisle and Wincanton.

Flirt To Tease Out A Win?

There are 7 races at Clonmel, where Gary Halpin will be on top of David Wachman’s Flirt in the 6.30. The filly performed well in Listed company and could cause a mild upset, to day, by getting the better of both Tonkinese and Simannka.

Listed Action In France & Germany

There are Listed races taking place in both France and Germany. Yoneti will be amongst the favourites for the Anjou-Loire Challenge, at Angers, while Andre Fabre’s Doha Dream takes on another Al Shaqab runner (Al Haram) in the Coupe des Trois ans (Lyon). It will be a big surprise, if Andreas Wöhler’s Shining Emerald fails to win the Jubiläums-Sprint-Cup at Dortmund. Today’s sole South African meeting is at Vaal.


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