Manor House Stables’ preparations for the Boodles May Festival meeting at Chester Racecourse started at the staff Christmas party in December, trainer Tom Dascombe has revealed.
Dascombe explained how a conversation with ex-footballer Michael Owen, who had the original vision for the spectacular training facilities in Malpas, meant he started planning ahead. Owen said to Dascombe at the party: “What horses are you going to run at Chester Racecourse in May?”
The trainer responded: “I haven’t thought about it yet,” to which Owen retorted: “It’s never too early, you should be thinking about next year’s Chester May meeting as soon as the festival is over!”
Dascombe is upbeat about this year’s May meeting, saying: “The horses are flying. It’s amazing and we’ve got here staff that really enjoy it. They work so hard, it’s brilliant. We’re going to have lots and lots of entries. At this stage, quite a few of the better horses would want cut in the ground, but there is usually soft in the going description at Chester at this time of the year.”
The stable, now sponsored by Ideal Recruitment, has an excellent record in the Stellar Group Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes for speedy juveniles, the opening race of the three-day festival meeting, which begins on Wednesday, May 4.
Dascombe expalined: “Fiery Character will probably be our sole representative in the race this year. She won at 33/1 on her debut at Newmarket a couple of weeks ago, when she shouldn’t have gone off at that price. We’ve not done much with her since, she’s fit and well and knows her job. You wouldn’t want to rev her up too much, otherwise you’d have nothing left, she’s a little filly.
“Unfortunately we’ve got nothing for the Chester Cup but we have several horses lined up for the conditions races and the handicaps that love racing round Chester, and that’s half the battle.
“Roudee, a course winner, would prefer the ground to be soft. He’s won over six furlongs and was second at Epsom last time out, one of the fastest five-furlong trips there is. His owners are mad for Chester.”
Early plans for day-three of the Boodles May Festival include recent Thirsk winner Cymro, Dascombe predicted: “If the ground is soft or heavy Cymro will win the Ormonde Stakes.”