It could be a good day for the Irish at the final day of Chester’s May meeting and a Dundalk regular gets the ball rolling in the opening 7f handicap at 1.50pm.
Damian Joseph English sends Tribal Path over and he’s been running consistently recently without getting his head in front. Chester could play to his strengths as he likes to press from the front and that running-style could serve him well here on this sharp track.
Chinned over this trip at Fundalk two runs back – he’s only a couple of pounds higher here off a rating of 86.
If he breaks as quick as he usually does, he should get across from stall 10 and motor on from there and avoid having to pass horses at the business end.
Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore have been mopping up everything in their path these last couple of weeks. Deauville added the Group 3 Huxley Stakes yesterday and then the trainer won his eighth Chester Vase with Venice Beach.
Cliffs of Moher has been all the rage for the Epsom Derby since the stablemate he beat by almost six lengths in a Leopardstown maiden, Orderofthegarter, bolted up by 11 lengths at Naas in March. He then backed that up with a win in the Irish 2,000 Guineas Trail last month.
There’s a few lightly-raced runners hoping to go on to better things here, not least Sir Michael Stoute’s Mirage Dancer. If Cliffs of Moher is to be considered a live Derby horse, he’ll need to be the 1m 2f Dee Stakes at 2.25pm.
We’ve a 5f speed test in the handicap at 3pm where the Chester guv’nor, Franny Norton, rides Rich and Famous. He’s only had five runs in his career so far and just failed to make the frame in one of those – when last to Sir Dancealot at York last October.
He had the cruellest cut of all when gelded after that and his two quick runs last month saw him finish second to Victory Angel at Newmarket before beating Ekhtiyaar at Doncaster. Drops down to the minimum trip for the first time on Friday, but looks progressive.
Ed Dunlop has booked Irish ace Pat Smullen for Red Verdon in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes at 3.35pm who was last seen chasing home Helene Charisma in a Group 1 at Saint-Clod.
Red Verdon improved last year from winning a Haydock handicap off 88 in May, to finishing sixth and fourth in the English and Irish Derbies respectively, before going close in France.
He can continue that upward curve in his four-year-old career.