CUT in the ground, a feather weight and stiff test of stamina all combine to give Dr Sharp an outstanding chance of landing tomorrow's tote-sport Chester Cup (2.30), opening day highlight of the May meeting.
The Tom Tate-trained gelding won on his only previous appearance at the Roodee when landing the Blue Square Games Handicap last August, proving he acts on the track.
But his most recent outing marked the chestnut down as a serious Cup candidate. Over a similar distance - 2m 2f - to tomorrow's trip, the five-year-old gradually wound up the pace from the front, eventually beating Carlys Quest by three lengths in the Stanleybet Stakes at Doncaster.
He has a mere 8st 3lbs to carry tomorrow and Tate said: "He was staying on well at Town Moor and if he does that again, he should give a good account of himself." Eddie Ahern has the ride.
Principal danger looks like being Coconut Beach, who represents the double Guineas-winning partnership of Aidan O'Brien and Kieren Fallon.
O'Brien has been pleased with the insight his new stable jockey has been able to bring about British courses, and Chester is one place he has been turned on to.
Coconut Beach will need to be good, however, as he is short on experience. The four-year-old didn't see a racetrack until last September when he won a Thurles maiden, and he followed up with an easy victory at Navan. And, on his seasonal debut in a two-mile race at the Curragh last month, he was only fifth after being sent off evens favourite.
If Coconut Beach fails to deliver, the Irish may already have a victory in the bag, courtesy of Faint Heart in the Cheshire Oaks (2.00).
The filly, runner up in another Listed event at Navan three weeks ago, is saddled by rising star of the training ranks, Dave Wachman.
Perhaps more significantly she is owned by the family of the late Robert Sangster, a former Chester steward who enjoyed great success on the Roodee. The race is this year being run for the Robert Sangster Memorial Cup.
Barry Hills always has his horses in top form for Chester and he can take the opening Joseph Heler Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes (1.30) over five furlongs with Don't Tell Sue.
The juvenile is closely related to Group One-winning sprinter Pipalong and there was a lot to like about the way he quickened to deny the favourite, Johnny Alpha, on his debut at Newbury last month.