Chester Cup Tips: Wind To Blow Away His Rivals On Friday
One of the highlights of the early season, the Chester Cup will be the showpiece event on the final day of the May meeting on Friday afternoon and it looks a hugely competitive betting heat. Our in-house tipster Steve Chambers has been handed the task to try and unravel the staying contest that could throw up a potential classy winner that heads on to Royal Ascot next month...
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Dermot Weld's Falcon Eight was a stunning winner of the Chester Cup two years ago and the Rosewell House inmate is a prominent figure in the betting to land the 2023 prize and has to be respected as a leading contender. A winner off a mark of 104 two years ago, the Irish raider tried to retain his crown last season, but failed to land a blow when fifth off a mark of 109. He lines up off 108 on Friday afternoon, so he has a stiff ask on his seasonal reappearance and while he has shown he can deliver the goods on the Roodee there could be some more attractively handicapped rivals that can claim the prize.
Hugo Palmer's Zoffee ended last season finishing a very creditable fourth in the Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket and that race can often throw a few clues up and Palmer's charge lines up off the same mark here, so has to be a major player. Drawn in stall 3, Ben Curtis should be able to maintain a decent position throughout the contest and if he can produce his best on his first run this year then he could at least grab a place in a very tough heat for punters to try and decipher.
Third in the 2021 Cesarewitch off 100, CALLING THE WIND then went and finished second in the November Handicap off a mark of 103 and the Richard Hughes-trained seven-year-old will take his chance off an eye-catching mark of 100 here, so if he can replicate those runs then he makes the most appeal at double-figured odds. He struggled last season, but should come on for his first run at Wolverhampton last time out and is entitled to be on the shortlist. Jamie Spencer is in the saddle, so you may have to hope for some luck in running if he adopts his customary patient tactics, but if Calling The Wind is on a going day then the former Queen Alexandra Stakes third can outstay his rivals and bound to a fine win.
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Harry Fry's Metier was a stunning winner of the November Handicap at Doncaster last season off a mark of 89 and will bid for a second big staying handicap prize on the Flat on Friday, but a mark of 97 provides a much tougher assignment. Unable to sparkle over hurdles in recent times, Metier was last seen finishing a fine second at Musselburgh in a competitive event and should put up a bold bid here, but could just be a little high in the weights here and from stall 14 looks one to avoid.
Third last year in this event behind the classy winner Cleveland, Rajinsky will face a stern test here off top weight and 13lbs higher than last year's event he could be one to avoid, while another towards the top of the weights that can be ignored is the veteran Euchen Glen, who doesn't seem to be the force of old and can fail to figure here.
One fascinating runner at the bottom end of the handicap is Call My Bluff for Dominic Ffrench Davis as the six-year-old has a win and a third on his two visits to the Roodee and he put up a career best last time out when finishing second at Newbury last month. Able to line up off the same mark of 88 here, he could be one of those that could slightly be ahead of the handicap and if he can kick on from that Newbury run then has to be a leading player.
Of the others, The Grand Visir is a huge price in a race he has run well in before, but could have his better days behind him, while Tritonic is another eye-catching dual-purpose performer that is a class act on his day, but could just struggle to get his head in front in a thrilling renewal.
Calling The Wind
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