1pt win Pivoting in 3.45 Chester at 11/1 (bet365, Unibet)
Whether you’re live at the track or watching from the comfort of your own sofa, racing from Chester never fails to raise the pulse slightly. There are likely to be one or two genuine Classic clues on offer, starting with the well-touted Zeyaadah in today’s Cheshire Oaks, but field sizes look set to improve later in the week and Wednesday’s card isn’t exactly the most punter-friendly overall.
If there’s a big-priced winner on day one it’s most likely to come in the tote+ Pays You More At tote.co.uk Handicap – a six-furlong sprint for three-year-olds only – although, admittedly, 12/1 has been the biggest winning SP in the past 10 editions of the same race.
Brian Meehan can do no wrong right now and his Tanfantic will be the obvious starting point for many punters. William Buick - in the saddle again here - got a good tune out of him when defying a penalty in a median auction event when last seen at Lingfield in late-August, and despite that race working out quite well since, the horse was actually dropped 1lb by the handicapper which looks a rare spot of leniency.
Tanfantic’s mid-summer Listed fourth at Sandown in the Dragon Stakes, where he split horses now rated 94 and 86 off level weights, also reads pretty well in the context of this event so we’re probably dealing with a well-treated three-year-old, from a seriously in-form yard, with a nice-looking draw in stall five to boot.
The one considerable snag, however, looks to be the ground which is not going to be getting any better any time soon by the looks of the forecast and could go distinctly downhill quite rapidly depending on the severity of the local showers.
Gutaifan’s progeny tend to handle ease without problems, but Tanfantic’s nearest relatives on his dam's side are all quick-ground performers and if he’s not at home in the rain then the race could open up quite nicely.
Kevin Ryan's Uncle Jumbo has Chester running through his blood as he’s closely related to Listed course winner Major Jumbo. He has good form at two as well, including in a couple of hotly-contested sales races at York and Doncaster, while he looks to have trained on relatively nicely on the back of creditable runs at Newcastle and Pontefact.
Whether he has much in hand from a mark of 94 is another matter, though, and I was half-tempted by Karl Burke’s lightly-raced Tipperary Tiger who has ground to make up with Uncle Jumbo from Newcastle but is fully 8lb better off on these terms.
After an impressive debut success at Doncaster (soft) in November, he was conceding 7lb to the now 91-rated To The Bar when second at Southwell on his only other juvenile outing and could leave his lesser February effort well behind back on turf.
He’s arguably a handful of boxes wider than ideal in stall nine here, though, and I prefer the claims of PIVOTING drawn down on the inside.
His trainer Tim Easterby won this race with The Hooded Claw in 2014 after a couple of spins to get him fully fit and some of the yard’s horses have been coming on a huge amount for their comebacks this spring – Delgrey Boy (9/1) won at Thirsk on Saturday after finishing last of 14 at 40/1 on his seasonal return last month, and Mukhayyam (5/2) landed a gamble at Musselburgh last week having been unplaced at 66/1 on his first run of the year.
In that context, Pivoting’s Pontefract sixth on April 6 – when drifting to 40/1 from 25s and finishing well behind the fourth-placed Uncle Jumbo – probably shouldn’t be judged too literally and the assessor dropping him 2lb on the back of it may prove hasty.
The son of Charming Thought had signed off in 2020 with a five and a half-length, pillar-to-post success at Pontefract from Forbidden Secret, who won his next two in France for different connections, and the 88-rated Out The Hat was back in third.
It was soft ground that day but he’d gone close on a sound surface in a Beverley maiden earlier in the year too so conditions shouldn’t hold any fears either way and Cam Hardie could be able to get a good early pitch on a horse we know likes to be on or close to the speed.
On his second run after being gelded and with the pipe-opening run behind him, Pivoting looks worth a bet at double-figure prices on a day when stakes should be kept to a minimum.
Published at 1500 BST on 04/05/21
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