Make it Mubaraza
Channel 4 commentator Simon Holt is keen on the chances of Mubaraza in Wednesday's Stan James.com Chester Cup.
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Mubaraza, a strong-travelling second to Angel Gabrial at Ripon first time out, is fancied to turn round a narrow defeat there on 3lb better terms in the Stan James.com Chester Cup.
The Ed Dunlop-trained stayer boasts solid form in this type of race having finished third to subsequent Ebor winner Tiger Cliff at Newmarket this time last year, fourth in the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting (keeping on well over two and a half miles) and third to Tominator in the Northumberland Plate.
Mubaraza had been off the course for 10 months before Ripon and can be expected to come on for the run. Indeed, he looked all over the winner that day until collared by Angel Gabrial late on.
With a decent form chance, a good draw (5) and guaranteed stamina, he looks the safest selection in an open field.
Angel Gabrial, whose owner Dr Marwan Koukash loves to have winners at Chester (and runs five!), grabbed the 3lb penalty he needed at Ripon to avoid being ballotted out here but had the advantage of two recent runs that day and may struggle to confirm the placings on the revised terms.
Koukash has certainly given himself every chance of lifting a second consecutive Cup following the victory of the Richard Fahey-trained Address Unknown last year and Duke Of Clarence, bought out of Richard Hannon's yard earlier in the year, looks an interesting runner on his first appearance for the Musley Bank handler.
Given that Hannon's stable jockey Richard Hughes was always very complimentary about this horse, it was a surprise to see him change hands for 70,000 guineas in February and he put up some good efforts in 2013, notably when scoring at Windsor and Goodwood and later finishing third to the Group class Gospel Choir back at Goodwood.
Duke Of Clarence's stamina for two-and-a-quarter miles is unproven but he was often running-on well in the closing stages over slightly shorter trips and ought to stay.
The Koukash-owned Montaser (drawn 1), an impressive winner at York last June before training off, and Suegioo aboard whom Ryan Moore looks a significant booking, also have chances.
The last-named shaped fairly well when third at Ripon recently and ran some consistent races last term without quite managing to get his head in front.
Shwaiman, an improved stayer for James Fanshawe, Cesarewitch runner-up Waterclock (has changed hands since) and Glenard, described as "talented but quirky" by his trainer Charles Hills are others with chances if they put their best feet forward. But all have drawn wide which is not ideal.
Other leading players who may be forced to take a scenic route on this tight left-hand circuit are Clowance Estate (15), Open Eagle (16) and White Nile (17).
Finally, Body Language is another one to consider. She ran some very nice races in the second half of last season, winning at Beverley and then being placed in listed company (behind Caucus) at Newmarket in September and has a good draw and guaranteed stamina.
Moreover, her trainer Ian Williams (also represented by the French import Golden Bowl) sent out Bulwark to lift this historic prize in 2008.