Chester: Chester Cup

Whiskey Sour jumping at Leopardstown. Image credit: Patrick McCann

Alan Marron previews the historic Chester Cup, which will be run at Chester on Friday (3:35pm)

We are in the North West of England for the next of the handicap previews on the website.

Chester is renowned for its extensive Roman walls made of local sandstone, some of which can be seen at the top of the racecourse and at which racegoers gather in order to watch the racing for free.

The racecourse is 480 years old and has been acknowledged by Guinness as Britain’s oldest track.

The Chester Cup carries £150,000 in prize-money and is run over 2m2f and is the feature race of the 3-day May meeting.

We take a look at some of the stats and trends for the race and will give two value selections from an each-way perspective.

  • 16/17 Aged 7 years old or younger
  • 13/17 Officially Rated between 93-99
  • 12/17 Won From Stall 7 or Lower
  • 11/17 Carried 9-2 or less
  • 11/17 Had won previously over 2m on the flat

Whiskey Sour

This horse is a very talented dual-purpose performer and with an interesting jockey booking in Andrea Atzeni and is the value each-way into a minefield of a market – one in which we will be paying 1/5 the odds on 5 places (Magic Circle is quoted in the betting but you will get your money back and there will be no Rule 4 applied by us if he doesn’t run).

This race will be top of Willie Mullins’ agenda before a trip to Royal Ascot.

This horse finished sixth in the Ebor last season at York, when ridden by William Buick. He was short of room and then ran on well close home. He is nicely berthed here in stall 7 for Andrea Atzeni to settle him in off the pace.

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The main thing about this race is that you will need plenty of luck in running. With many of the fancied horses drawn low, it will be interesting to see if the pace holds up and whether the closers get into it.

Whiskey Sour’s jumps form is solid as well, as he has run well in a Galway Hurdle and won a Premier handicap around Galway in 2017. Galway is a similar track to Chester and its tight, turning nature could really play to his strengths.

Cliffs Of Dooneen

Formerly trained by Aidan O Brien, this horse could be very well handicapped on his second run for the in-form Ralph Beckett (nine winners in the 12 days leading up to today).

This race could be high up in the mind of Ralph Beckett, who is a dab hand at producing other trainers’ horses to win second time out.

A line of form that was tested this week is that True Self, trained by Willie Mullins, who completed a four-timer when winning a Listed Race at Gowran Park, and the only time she got beaten on the flat was by Cliffs of Dooneen in a Bellewstown maiden back on the 5th of July 2018.

A handicap rating of 98 could really underestimate this horse as True Self is now rated 110. The draw again favours Cliffs of Dooneen and he is very lightly raced for a 4yr old. The trip should be spot on for this horse and it would be no surprise to see a big run from him as he is also well berthed in stall 2.

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article