Chester Cup Tips: Spencer to have a winning spin in Chester Cup

Seventeen are set to face off for the prestigious Chester Cup
Seventeen are set to face off for the prestigious Chester Cup

The Chester Cup is one of the most hotly anticipated staying handicaps of the flat season with last seasons 1-2 set to resume their rivalry in the 2022 renewal. Seventeen runners in total are set to do battle for the cup on Friday May 6th and we have a preview of the contest along with a selection still available at a double figure price...

Falcon Eight was a commanding winner of last season's Chester Cup for the high profile connections of Dermot Weld and Frankie Dettori and the reigning champion is one of the market leaders at the moment to defend his crown. He will have to tackle 2021 second The Grand Visir once more and will be on six pounds worse terms with Ian Williams' eight year old than he was when triumphant last May. Falcon Eight was of course top weight last season and that didn't stop him but with a further five pounds to carry his task is enormous. He also is not best suited to softer ground and with the forecast as it is that is how the surface looks set to be. The second last year is a much bigger price, and that is due to the alarming drop in form since that commendable run. Chester is often a course for specialists however and The Grand Visir at 16/1 must surely come into consideration for anyone tempted to back Falcon Eight at 6/1.

The co market leader with last season's champion is Solent Gateway for Hugo Palmer and Ben Curtis. His chance is obvious after his impressive 2m handicap win back in August at this venue and his last run in third at Epsom can be excused due to the luckless passage and racing over a trip too short for him. He looks attractively weighted for this contest and has an undoubted favourite's chance, although his hold-up style of running could prove treacherous in a contest like this with so many non-stayers who could fall into his lap.

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Cleveland is undoubtedly one of the most interesting entries in this contest, with the classy Ballydoyle colt seemingly being shunted into marathon trips for the rest of his career by connections. To my eye this has not looked a horse crying out for this sort of test and despite his shortish price he is one to discount from any shortlists. He is the sole representative of Aidan O'Brien who has never won this race and I don't expect this to be the year he breaks his duck. 

Rajinsky is set to take his chance for Hugo Palmer and has been consistent over these trips, although he has never tried the unique test of Chester so far in his career. His reappearance at Ripon showed he had lost nothing over his winter break and he has definite each-way claims here. The seven pound claim for promising jockey Harry Davies will do his chances no harm either.  

Coltrane will be carrying a stone less than Falcon Eight and will be making his first appearance on turf since October 2020 in this handicap, after a season of solely all-weather runs last campaign. Andrew Balding's charge has looked a stayer in every aspect last campaign and on his last appearance he was doing all his best work late over two miles at Kempton. Nate The Great is another runner set to take his chance for the Andrew Balding team and although it feels like he has been around forever he is remarkably still only a six year old. He was well beaten in this race last season but since then has been running with credit on the all-weather to regain some confidence and could give a better running here.

Further down the market Metier for Harry Fry is another interesting entry as the jumps handler has often mused this could be a runner he campaigns throughout the summer in valuable staying handicaps and now we will finally see if he is made for the test. Once a leading fancy for the 2021 Supreme, Metier was no match for Appreciate It that day and finished back in seventh. He seemed to lose his way a tad when pulling up on his reappearance later that year before a more encouraging effort at Ascot in a handicap preceded a welcome win at Lingfield. His first attempt at stalls could be interesting but if he takes to the challenge he could be one to watch in-play as he is sure to travel strongly through the contest.  

Haliphon is another intriguing contender for the shrewd Ian Williams. The likely softer ground could be suited to him and he is one at a bigger price I would not be surprised to see still plugging on come the final furlongs. Reshoun completes the Williams trio and was another who was well beaten in this race last season. He is a talented horse on his day however, which he proved when winning at a huge 66/1 next time out at Ascot in a handicap. Unlike his stablemate, however, the softer ground may count against him. Solo Saxophone is an old stager who has flicked between disciplines but should find this too tricky, while Byron Flyer completes the Williams quartet as the rank outsider. 

The one I like is ARCADIAN SUNRISE who with some firms is still available at tempting each-way prices. He has the benefit of two time Chester Cup winner Jamie Spencer in the saddle and the John Queally runner should be ideally suited to Spencer's ultra patient style. This horse has proved himself as adept in both disciplines but a weight of nine stone seems to give him a brilliant chance of landing a third Chester Cup for his jockey. The style of his August win at York indicated he had plenty left to show as a top class stayer and I don't think a seven pound rise will stop him at all. He is a solid each-way pick. 

2022 Chester Cup
Arcadian Sunrise silk

Arcadian Sunrise (EW)

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