A handful of rides for Betfair ambassador Ryan Moore a Chester on Friday including Grandmaster Flash for Joseph O'Brien.
With Japan going for the Ormonde, we rely on Armory here and he looks the stand-out on form, even though Sangarius and Bangkok are very good horses in their own right, and the first-named could prove troublesome here. My colt handles soft ground – even if a quicker surface would suit him even better - he ran a great race when third in Irish Champion and then found only his former stablemate Sir Dragonet too good in the Cox Plate. He is a very classy horse and the one to beat on form, though no more rain would help.
He obviously comes here in very good form, following up his victories with a second at Musselburgh last time. The problem is that he has gone up another 4lb to a career-high mark of 100 after that narrow defeat and his recent form has come on decent ground, but he has won on soft. Stall one could be tricky but you get what are you given and deal with it.
He has a fair bit to find at these weights with the top one but he shaped well when a close third at Newbury on his return, and he showed he handled soft ground when going close at Doncaster last season. And as a horse with just six starts behind him, you have to expect there is more to come. I think he has a decent chance, though El Astronaute is obviously the one to beat and I could have drawn better than six of seven.
He is a talented handicapper on his day and he showed he can handle soft when winning well at Haydock last season, though he goes on anything. He has never raced around here before and he is making his comeback, but Ed [Dunlop] has his horses in good form and this one has chances off 96.
He comes in here as an improving horse and one who has been suited by the application of cheekpieces on his recent starts. He has to transfer that all-weather progression to the turf, and soft ground at that, but he ran well at Curragh and Galway last summer, and you have to like his chances and profile in an open race.