Always a social occasion, Chester Racecourse is delivering wall-to-wall excitement at the Boodles May Festival meeting this week, and yesterday featured the historic 188Bet Chester Cup, won by 16/1 chance Montaly.
The runners were closely bunched on the final circuit with top weight Nakeeta and Angel Gabrial heading the field.
Oisin Murphy brought his mount through the leading horses to snatch the race on the line to score by a neck from Yorkidding.
“He had a good draw today and I kept it smooth, I had pace horses around me,” said Murphy.
“He was straightforward. This was good race planning, he was racing off a career high mark. I didn’t want to go too soon so I wasn’t confident.”
Action began with speedy juveniles in the Stellar Group Lily Agnes Conditional Stakes.
Jockey John Egan was smartly away with Yogi’s Girl and despite a challenge from Black Orange she held on to win by a nose.
Winning trainer Dave Evans said: “It was brilliant; I thought we’d got headed. She’s always been quick and I was gutted when she was beaten at Wolverhampton. She got the draw and John is great round here.”
Enable earned herself a ticket to Epsom for the Oaks next month when landing the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks by one and three quarter lengths from Allurlingly. The crowd were treated to a flying dismount from jockey Frankie Dettori.
“She corned well because she’s a lengthy filly, it’s an educational race coming here,” explained Teddy Grimthorpe, representing the winning connections.
“All being well she’ll head to Epsom, she has the profile to stay a mile and a half.”
The Boodles Diamond Handicap provided El Astronaute, the 2/1 favourite, with a win.
Jason Hart used stall one to his advantage and led from the start. Taexali challenged in the closing stages but was a length in arrears crossing the line.
“He’s very fast and got bags of toe and he’ll keep going; I knew he’d win when I gave him a final kick,” said the winning jockey.
After a superb first day at the Boodles May Festival, top class action continues with the one-mile four-furlong Group 3 MBNA Chester Vase on Day Two of the Boodles May Festival meeting, a race which is dominated by four entries from the Irish maestro Aiden O’Brien.
Ryan Moore has opted to ride Venice Beach, a Galileo colt who was placed in his seasonal debut before winning his maiden last month at Tipperary when striding away from his rivals to open up a margin of five and a half lengths crossing the line.
The Anvil is also by Galileo and scored comfortably at Dundalk in March over 10 furlongs. Wings of Eagles and Finn McCool make up the O’Brien challenge. Cunco is the top rated horse in the race.