One of the biggest betting handicaps of the flat season, the 188Bet Chester Cup, run over a trip of two miles and two furlongs, takes centre stage at the Boodles May Festival meeting today (Wednesday), to open the spectacular summer programme of racing on the Roodee.
Trainer Patrick Morris, who is responsible for some of the horses owned by Marwan Koukash, a staunch Chester Racecourse supporter and previous winner of the coveted Chester Cup, said: “Marwan will probably have 10 runners over the three days of the meeting. Angel Gabrial should run well.”
Yorkshire-based Richard Fahey trains Angel Gabrial. The eight-year-old finished in mid division in the Chester Cup last year and last recorded a win back in June 2014 when landing the John Smith’s Northumberland Plat from now stable-mate Suegioo.
There are several form links going back to 2014 when Suegioo landed the Chester Cup by half a length from Angel Gabrial, who was receiving two pounds in weight.
In 2015, Trip To Paris, allocated a weight of 9st 7lbs this year, carried 8st 9lbs to a three-quarter-of-a- length victory over Quick Jack, the 4/1 favourite. Angel Gabrial finished down the field.
Irish challengers include Golden Spear, trained by Tony Martin and a winner at Leopardstown back in the autumn, beating a large field. He comes fit from a winter jumping campaign.
Looking further down the weights is four-year-old Blakeney Point, trained by Roger Charlton. A winner over two miles on the course back in September 2016 by a margin of three lengths when not getting a clear run. His most recent out was a win on the all-weather at Kempton last month. This in-form horse has demonstrated his well-being this season and should go close in the Chester Cup.
Local trainer Tom Dascombe was in the winners’ enclosure with La Celebs Ville at Haydock Park last Saturday.
He said: “The horses have been running well and it’s great to win at Haydock; she’ll improve, she’s well-bred and has strengthened up. That’s a great start to her four-year-old career.”
Dascombe recorded a further success when Sidewinder lost his maiden tag.
“It’s a great habit to have,” said Dascombe as he celebrated a treble at Haydock when jockey Richard Kingscote brought Caponova from the rear in the closing handicap to leave the field toiling.
“This horse improved last year and it looks as if he might have improved again, he’s absolutely bolted up today. This is his fourth success here, on all types of ground, he wants a track like this.”