Last year’s St Leger winner Kew Gardens is the star on show on Day 2 of Chester’s May meeting when he makes his seasonal reappearance in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes over an extended mile and five furlongs.
The ground is likely to be soft come post time if the inclement forecast is correct and I would imagine that the Coronation Cup – 5/1 at BetVictor – at Epsom next month is the 4-y-old’s main early season objective. His superior class could see him prevail first time out, but he must give 7lbs to last year’s Chester Cup winner Magic Circle (3.35) who runs in the colours of Dr Marwan Koukash whose love affair with Chester is well known. The selection won first time out last season for Ian Williams and I would expect him to be primed for a big run this afternoon. The selection is 4/1 at BetVictor and he is the each way recommendation.
Camacho Chief (1.50) can be slowly away from the stalls, but if he gets away on terms he would have a leading chance in the opening 5f sprint for Michael Dods. The selection is 10/1 with BetVictor and should be finishing fast and late under 5lb claimer Paula Muir. I often feel the need for a low draw is negated at Chester on soft ground and if the ground turns soft I feel the rail may not be the place to be as the winner often comes down the centre of the course.
Circus Maximus (2.25) was only beaten a length in fourth in the Group 1 Vertem Trophy by Magna Grecia and that form was franked when the winner landed the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday. This lightly-raced Galileo colt has won on heavy ground so underfoot conditions should not be a problem and his stablemate Mohawk must shoulder a 5lb penalty for his win in the Royal Lodge Stakes back in the autumn. Ryan Moore rides the selection who is 5/4 at BetVictor.
King Of Tonga (3.00) has been raised 6lbs for finishing second at Beverley on his reappearance but he is taken to overcome that rise for Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan who is a big Liverpool supporter and will have been thrilled by events at Anfield earlier in the week. It should be noted that the Beverley winner – Mohtarrif – runs in the Listed Dee Stakes earlier in the card.
Lariat (4.35) gets the vote in the 12f Handicap for Andrew Balding having looked ready for a step up to this trip when runner up at Sandown on his reappearance from a 4lbs lower mark. The selection has winning form on soft ground and Oisin Murphy takes the ride.
At Chelmsford this evening Victory Wave (6.00) can return to winning ways having stayed on strongly over 6f at Kempton on her last start. This return to 7f will suit and the mare has won off a 2lb higher mark over C&D in the past.
Weekender (7.30) disappointed behind Dee Ex Bee on his reappearance over 2m at Ascot last time but I feel this trip – 1m 6f – is ideal and I would be disappointed if he didn’t get back on track in the Conditions event for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori.