Chester selections Friday 7th May
Chester stages the final day of its big May meeting and the Chester Cup highlights both the Friday card and the meeting as a whole. No jockey rides the track better than Franny Norton and I think he can follow up his win in the race in the last renewal of 2019. We were a bit unlucky yesterday with both our selections finishing a close second, but as each-way bets, they did both produce a profit, Count D’Orsay (SP 14/1) and Spirit Dancer (advised 11/2).
GROVE FERRY (1.45) was my saver bet in the Lincoln on the opening day of the turf season, but he rather spoiled his chance by pulling too hard in the early stages under his inexperienced apprentice. Nevertheless he ran a solid race in 8th, and I think the combination of a senior jockey in David Probert on board, plus this tighter track will work in his favour.
This nimble type already can boast victories around Epsom and Lingfield’s AW track to his name, both left-handed tracks that require plenty of balance and that suggests he should handle the challenges of Chester well. He seems to handle cut in the ground well, he was a good second on heavy at Doncaster last autumn. The all important draw is also in his favour in stall 3, so really there seems to be plenty to recommend him overall.
Trainer Mark Johnston and jockey Franny Norton landed the previous Chester Cup with Making Miracles and despite a double-figure draw, TRUMPET MAN makes plenty of appeal for the big race (2.45). Recent Cup results show it is possible to compete from a high draw (the first four home in the last renewal were drawn 16-12-7-17). A good start and therefore the chance to gain a good early position is crucial and Norton knows how to do that around Chester.
Trumpet Man warmed up for this with a fair sixth in a valuable race at Musselburgh, but raced pretty freely throughout suggesting he was a bit buzzy on his comeback. He ought to be sharper and more professional today and his progressive form at the backend of last season indicates he could still be ahead of the handicapper. His hat-trick in 17 days included a 6l heavy ground win at Haydock, so the going won’t be an issue and he stays 2m very well, so has every chance of staying this marathon trip.
ROCHESTER HOUSE looks over-priced too, probably as a result of his wide draw. However he has another tactically astute rider in Joe Fanning to try and overcome that burden. I liked the way he travelled when third at Newbury on his seasonal return, where he got tired late as if just in need of the run. However we know stamina is his forte as he was fifth, coming from an impossible position out the back in the 2m4f handicap at Royal Ascot and was then a narrow second over the same trip at Glorious Goodwood.
He also handles cut, as shown when winning on soft at Ascot in the autumn, and he has a good record on tight, turning tracks with wins at Lingfield and Catterick to his name amongst others. Much will depend on whether Fanning can get the horse slotted in and avoid having to race wide throughout, or too far off the pace – but at the current odds I think it is worth chancing he can do that.
1pt each-way – Grove Ferry 1.45 Chester – 5/1 general (William Hill 1/5 odds 1st 4)
1pt each-way – Trumpet Man – 2.45 Chester – 9/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 5)
0.5pts each-way – Rochester House – 2.45 Chester – 20/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 5)