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Man On The Spot previews all of the action from the Roodee on the opening day of Chester's May meeting.
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Mukhmal impressed on debut beating the more experienced, heavily-backed Cheerio Sweetie at Musselburgh. He gave the winner 5lb that day but is now concedes a stone under race conditions. He'll come on from the run too but an added complication is that he's drawn in the worst possible box whereas Cheerio Sweetie has bagged the rails draw. There shouldn't be much between them. The form of Roudee's Ripon debut win has been boosted by the runner-up scoring since but he too has been unlucky with a disadvantageous wide draw. Magical Memory looks a sure-fire improver from a Newbury race that's working out very well but it's the runner-up that day, CHARLIE'S STAR, who makes most appeal. Only reeled in late on by the potentially useful Kasb on that occasion, the Evans filly has since been untroubled to land a Yarmouth maiden, has a leading jockey at this venue on board and a good draw in stall three.
Aidan O'Brien's Galileo filly, TERRIFIC, improved with each of three juvenile outings and was noted doing her best work late on when a promising third in Listed company at Navan on her reappearance. She looked in need of the run that day and the combination of this longer trip and assured fitness should see her go close in this traditional Oaks trial. Bright Approach is an obvious danger after displaying a stylish turn of foot to mow down rivals on debut in a Newbury maiden. We'll know much more about her after this step-up in grade but it would be dangerous to omit the Gosden filly from calculations. Lady Tyne, very impressive on heavy ground at Newbury last term, and Psychometry, open to plenty of improvement, both look certain improvers at three for their respective high-class yards.
Arguably not the best Chester Cup in terms quality but still traditionally competitive. History reveals those drawn wide are generally disadvantaged despite the staying trip which makes life potentially tough for the likes of White Nile, Shwaiman and Clowance Estate. MUBARAZA failed to score last term but remained very competitive in high-class staying handicaps such as the Ascot Stakes and Northumberland Plate, placing in both. He looks a major player here from stall five and should give his supporters a good run with the in-form Paul Hanagan aboard. Suegioo is another consistent gelding who failed to win last term whilst running well and he could be a danger to all if staying the trip, having yet to travel further than 1m6f. Angel Gabrial is very closely handicapped with Mubaraza on latest Ripon running and should stay the extra 2f whilst not being too badly drawn in 11. He certainly makes the shortlist for an owner that just loves to have winners here. Montaser and Glenard, who bookend the handicap, are others of note although the latter is not well drawn.
A burn-up for sure with a rapid exit from the gate essential in a field of this size. Noble Storm, a confirmed trailblazer, remains a useful sort but will have to trap quickly from the eight stall whereas Caspian Prince has bagged the rails draw and has already displayed his ability to handle a fast 5f when always in command in a decent Epsom sprint on his penultimate start. Not overly consistent, he's very useful at his best and is definite shortlist material. GO NANI GO has also found himself well drawn and is partnered by one of the best jockeys around this idiosyncratic venue in Franny Norton. He's much more of a hold-up merchant who needs the cards to fall just right in a large field such as this but looks a strong each-way option at the very least if things go his way. Rusty Rocket and Top Boy are also noted in a typically competitive Chester sprint.
All these inexperienced three-year-olds have shown promise and the outcome will be determined by their respective rates of progress, whilst both newcomers will require a market check. Prince Of Stars and COMPUTER came home fifth and seventh on debut in the Wood Ditton at the Craven meeting and there shouldn't be much between them now over an additional 2f. However, the latter may just offer a shade better value than the Gosden inmate and represents a yard that always targets this May meeting. It was only in the final furlong that the selection started to tire and is taken to step up now. Race To Glory and Obstinate were both promising on debut, likewise Ghosting who has a considerable absence to overcome though. Rangi Chase has form in the book and should be thereabouts but may find one or two progressing past him.
Lovely to see Borderlescott run such a cracking race when inched out at Musselburgh by Smoothtalkinrascal and no surprise if he delivers another sound effort here. Lucky Beggar appeared to show improved form when scoring in style on his Newbury return to action and could be an improved sprinter this term. He looks a leading contender from the rails draw with William Buick a good booking. Trinityelitedotcom has been a paragon of consistency in good-quality all-weather sprints over the winter months and enters the equation if transferring that level to Turf. However, we'll take a chance with MASAMAH. The minimum trip has always brought out the best of him, he's nicely drawn in stall 4 under Spencer to take the required early position and has already confirmed his ability to handle this quirky track with a course and distance success.
ANGLO IRISH has yet to race on this surface but has been nicely progressive for John Gosden on Polytrack and the yard enjoys a healthy strike rate at this venue. The good ground should present no issue for this Turf debut and he's taken to maintain his progression off an acceptable mark. Nam Hai is impossible to assess accurately on the back of a Wolverhampton maiden success but may well have got in here very lightly off 73 for his handicap bow and should be included on all shortlists. Emef Diamond is solid, Captain Morley a potential improver and Laugharne is definitely better than his tailed-off Newmarket reappearance when something was clearly amiss, though he was engaged to run at Kempton yesterday.