Nothing to write home about on a rainy first day of the Chester May meeting for me personally with impressive wins for both Mehdaayih and Sir Dragonet in their respective Epsom trials. I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that I wasn’t going to be riding at Chester on Friday, but those plans have now changed, and I’ll be here then too. Thursday is going to be a pretty manic day for me as I’ve got three nice rides at Chester and then fly home back to Chelmsford for four more rides in the evening. Here are my thoughts…
FOX CHAIRMAN (2.25pm Chester – Homeserve Dee Stakes)
Fox Chairman gave me a lovely feel on his debut at Newbury last month where he travelled really well and quickened up nicely. That may have only been a maiden, but he did it all in the style of a really nice horse and he warrants this step up in class. This looks a particularly strong Listed contest and Aidan O’Brien and his Ballydoyle team showed on Wednesday how hard they can be to beat saddling the first two home in the Vase. Circus Maximus looks the pick of their two runners and he wasn’t beaten far by Saturday’s 2000 Guineas winner Magna Grecia last time. Their other runner Mohawk isn’t here just to make up the numbers either and they will be hard to beat. However, my colt gave me a lovely feel last time and he is one with a really bright future whatever happens.
LINCOLN PARK (3.00pm Chester – Deepbridge Capital Handicap)
A typically trappy looking Chester handicap where, as always, a low draw is a huge advantage. I ride Lincoln Park for Mick Appleby who will break from stall three which is a definite positive. He handles soft ground well should any more rain arrive and his last run at Musselburgh was a step back in the right direction. He is slowly inching back down towards his last winning mark and the slight drop back in trip will help too.
MORANDO (3.35pm Chester – Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes)
My final ride of the afternoon before jumping in a plane to Chelmsford is Morando for Andrew Balding in the Ormonde Stakes. This is the first time I have ridden him in a race, but he ended last season in good form and should go well if in the same mood. Any more rain will be no problems for him and he is one I am looking forward to sitting on. The only problem is the presence of the top one for that man Aidan O’Brien! Last season’s St Leger winner Kew Gardens returns to action and will be really hard to beat even with his penalty.
I’ve got four nice rides to look forward to starting off with Vivionn for Sir Michael Stoute in the fillies’ handicap (6.30pm). I’ve never ridden her before, but she looked a bit unlucky at Wolverhampton last time and the step up in trip should suit.
Fox Premier has his first run of the season in the next (7.00pm) and there are grounds to think that the son of Frankel may have grown up over the winter. He will definitely have to build on what he showed as a two-year-old as this looks competitive.
Fox Mafia finished fourth of four at Southwell last week and steps up in trip here. Hopefully that will help, and he will need to step up to figure here.
My final ride of the night is Zamjar for Robert Cowell in the last (8.30pm) and he was only just touched off at Doncaster last time. If he can reproduce that effort, from a 4lb higher mark, he should go pretty close.
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