Second guessing the weather is a fool’s errand at the moment and, following 48 hours of glorious sunshine nationwide, it is even harder to fathom that the going at beautiful Chester racecourse remains good to soft.
Rain is forecast in the Cheshire region in the next 24 hours, but not until the day one runners have returned safe and sound to their horse boxes on Wednesday, which means we should have a perfect surface for day one.
That is exactly what Aidan O’Brien third stringer in the Cheshire Oaks, Forever Together, has been crying out for.
I made a note of this nicely put together filly in her juvenile season on both of her starts.
Her career debut came at Naas when she was strikingly weak in the market but made stealthy late headway to finish fourth of 10 behind Who’s Steph over a mile.
Different front-running tactics were put into play three weeks when she was at the head of affairs for most of the way before succumbing to the classy Contingent in a mile maiden at Leopardstown.
I am hoping that on this, her three-year-old debut, she isn’t merely used as a pace maker for her stable mates Dramatically and Magic Wand as I firmly believe this better ground and step up in trip could see her make a major step forward. A double figure price – she is currently 14/1 – would look solid each-way value if she is dropped out.
The winner of the Listed Dee Stakes hasn’t gone on to win the Epsom Derby since way back in 2003 via the very average Kris Kin and this year’s renewal hardly inspires classic confidence.
A classic trial runner-up, Ispolini doesn’t really have a lot of scope to step forward dramatically on that Esher run, and the likelihood is that, after finishing just over a length off that rival in third place, Hunting Horn will reverse the form here at 10/3.
I thought he was given a strange ride that afternoon by Ryan Moore, being prominent early on and then dropped to the rear of the field after three furlongs.
Ultimately outpaced from the top of the stretch, the son of Camelot only really found his stride in the final 220 yards and, granted a more positive ride, would surely have gained the day. Compensation awaits here.
The way Mick Channon’s youngsters are running at the moment it would take a brave man to oppose his progressive Kinks in the opening Lily Agnes Stakes at 13:50.
However, she has a tough box in 11 and my preference is for her Doncaster conqueror Lihou.
The daughter of Mayson won a shade cosily that day and has a much better sit in stall number five under Fran Berry.
A career low handicap mark of 85 makes Sultan Byers a tempting each-way proposition in the closing seven-furlong handicap at 5.05, and he can reverse recent Catterick form with Right Action, and confirm it with Twin Appeal.
That opening salvo at the “Bridge” should have blown away the cobwebs and stall two gives us further hope.
With winning course form, top weight Roaring Forties will relish this step back up to a seventh furlong and is rightly respected along with the well handicapped outsider Storm Ahead, which gives you your tricast!!!
Richard Fahey continues to throw up a steady stream of winners and his Requinto Dawn should be hard to beat in the three-year-old sprint handicap at 16.35, while Howman can strike for Roger Varian in an interesting middle distance maiden at 4.05.
*All odds Correct at time of posting