3.35 Chester – 188BET Chester Cup – Friday 11th May
One of the strongest trends associated with the Chester Cup concerns weight with horses with big weights historically struggling to get their head in front. The summit appears to be 9st 4lb as only one winner in the last ten years has carried more than that to victory, namely last year’s winner Montaly. In terms of this year’s field, this means that the top five as they appear on the racecard all look to be up against it, with the exception of Saigon City, whose jockey’s claim takes him down to 8st 13lb.
The draw can play a big part in the outcome of flat races particularly at Chester where the turns are so tight. Therefore, it is little surprise that those drawn in the widest stalls have tended to struggle in recent years. In fact, nine of the last ten winners had come from stall 11 or lower so it seems best to stick with those drawn towards the inside. Looking at this year’s renewal, Who Dares Wins, Nakeeta and Saigon City all occupy wide draws so may need a bit of luck to get their head in front.
In terms of official ratings, the desired bracket appears to be between 93 and 99 as all of the last ten winners came from this group. Admiral, who was rated 85 when winning in 2006 was the most recent winner to defy this trend and will be possible inspiration for those who fall on the wrong side of the trend this year. In this year’s field, most of the field are rated in excess of 100 but those who are part of the favoured group are the 97-rated quartet of Cayirli, Dubawi Fifty, Silver Concorde and Jukebox Jive as well as Stargazer and Watersmeet, who are both rated 99.
When looking at age, four, five and six-year-olds have the best record in the race having accounted for eight of the last ten winners of the race. This bracket accounts for eleven of the seventeen runners in this year’s field. On a negative note, there has no winner aged older than eight since 1975, which suggests that the ten-year-old Silver Concorde is up against it here.
If we consider the recent form of horses coming into this race, the result is probably the reverse of what you would expect. Six of the last ten winners finished outside the first three on their most recent outing which suggests that this could be a race in which we can take a chance on a horse bouncing back to form. There are eight such runners this year which include the likes of Magic Circle, Prince Of Arran and Nakeeta.
However, race fitness can play a big role especially at this time of year when horses are making their first starts of the season. It is interesting to note therefore that seven of the last ten winners had run since the beginning of March in the respective years in which they won. Some of these outings came over hurdles rather than on the flat but it just shows how important fitness can be on the day. There are only three horses in this year’s field with fitness to prove and they are Nakeeta, Magic Circle and Fun Mac.
The final factor worthy of consideration is the betting and it is fair to say that this has been a tough race for favourites in recent years. Mamlook was the last winning favourite in 2010 which doesn’t bode well for this year’s current favourite Magic Circle. There is time for the market to change ahead of the race tomorrow but in general, we need to be wary of those at the head of the market.
STARGAZER – 6/7
Dubawi Fifty – 6/7
Jukebox Jive – 6/7
All the field miss at least one of our trends but the shortlist looks a strong one, with marginal preference going to STARGAZER. Philip Kirby’s five-year-old was a cheap purchase from the stable of Sir Michael Stoute and has performed with credit on both of his starts for his new connections. I felt he was a little unfortunate to have the result overturned at Newcastle last time and if he can see out this longer trip, he looks likely to be thereabouts come the business end of the race.
Just missing out on the top spot is Dubawi Fifty, who has been a model of consistency in recent months. Karen McLintock’s five-year-old has won four of his last six starts and when you consider that one of those defeats was a fourth-placed finish in the Cesarewitch, his form looks even better. He finished just behind Stargazer at Newcastle in March and there doesn’t look to be much between the pair again here.
The final member of the shortlist is Jukebox Jive who shaped well with plenty of encouragement when finishing fourth at Newbury a couple of weeks ago. He was perhaps a little unlucky not to finish a little closer, having encountered some traffic problems and if he can get a good position from his wide stall, he could outrun his odds under John Egan.
Just the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.