“IF YOU win a Chester trial, you go to Epsom!” was the view expressed by trainer John Gosden following a win in the Weatherbys Bank Cheshire Oaks with Gertrude Bell, bred by his wife Rachel Hood.
The Sinndar filly heads to Epsom next month for the Investec Oaks.
“She wants a truly run mile and half race, in the end it was a tactical sprint, we were in the right place, sitting on Hughies’ girth.
“We planned this race after Newbury last year, explained trainer John Gosden. The filly shortened in to 25-1 (from 33) with totesport for the fillies classic.
“It’s a good start,” commented local trainer Tom Dascombe following a pillar to post success with Julius Geezer in the Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes, sponsored by Manor House Stables where Dascombe trains.
“On the sales catalogue I wrote one word against this horse’s name – Chester! He’s always been a nice horse. This is an ideal track for a horse that breaks the gate and goes. He’s never stopped trying, that’s important.
“We’re thrilled to have a two-year-old winner, this was the ambition, we’ll sit down on Saturday and think about next week,” added Dascombe.
There was a photo finish to the totesport.com Chester Cup showing that 7-1 chance Mamlook had got up on the line for Richard Hughes to win the valuable prize by a head from top-weight Tastahil.
Cheshire-born part-owner Peter Deal was delighted, saying: “It’s wonderful, full marks to Hughsie, he was absolutely right and it was a brilliant ride. He had him in a wonderful position; I can’t tell you how thrilled we all are. This race has always been a target; it’s a proper heritage handicap.”
“That was great; we got the draw with him. He hit the gates and grabbed the rail. He’s done it well and it great to get a winner on the first day at Chester,” remarked trainer Kevin Ryan following a pillar to post success with Masamah in the Clatterbridge Cancer research Handicap Stakes.
“After a furlong you could nearly call him the winner; he’s track dependent and he loves going left-handed,” added Ryan.
Favourite backers collected following the running of the Bentley Motors Handicap Stakes and a win fr Alrasm Trained by Michael Jarvis and ridden by Richard Hills. The partnership notched up a quick double winning the Residence at HQ Maiden Stakes comfortably with Thaahira.
Chief Executive Richard Thomas said of the opening day of the Chester season: “We’re very pleased with operations today, the crowd may be slightly down today at 16,482 but tomorrow and Friday are both sold out.
“It was pleasing to have a local winner in the first race. The first and second horses home in the Cheshire Oaks are well thought of, the trainers are very bullish,” he added.
To provide fresh ground for Thursday, clerk of the course Ed Gretton said: “We’ll be moving the false rail out by three yards after racing today from the four furlong marker to the top of the home straight.”