There is the prospect of thunderstorms in the north west ahead of today’s first card of the season at Chester. The feature race on the eight-race card is the listed Queensferry Stakes over 6f. Judicial (6.30) finished runner up in this corresponding race three years ago but that is his only defeat in three starts on the Roodeye and he is taken to give weight away all round from a good draw in stall two. The selection is 5/2 with Boylesports.
Trainer Julie Camacho had a winner at Haydock on Saturday and her veteran eight-year-old looked as good as ever when landing the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle on his penultimate start. The eight-year-old was slightly below that form at Newbury last time, but his high cruising speed is an asset around these tight turns, and he is taken to improve his excellent course record although do note that he is unproven on soft ground.
In the extended 7f handicap True Blue Moon (5.30) looked ready for a step up in trip when a good fourth over 7f at York last month from a 1lb higher mark. The selection is well treated on his best form, the Tim Easterby yard are in good form and his draw in stall five looks ideal. The ew selection is 5/1 with 10bet who are betting 4 places.
Dr Marwan Koukash loves to have winners at his home track and three of the five runners in the finale will run in his silks but preference is for Andrew Balding’s Edinburgh Castle (8.00). The selection’s third to Look Closely at Ascot last time was given a boost when the winner followed up from an 8lb higher mark at the weekend. Any further significant rain would be a positive for the selection who is a best priced 15/8 with William Hill.
The opening 3m handicap chase at Southwell is likely to e run at a fair lick given Alexander The Grey is in the field. He would have been the selection on a right-handed track, but I will wait until he drops a couple more pounds at Ludlow or Huntingdon before supporting him.
Robyndzone (1.15) looked well ahead of the handicapper when scoring at Bangor-on-Dee on his reappearance and a 10lbs rise is fair. Fergal O’Brien’s six-year-old – 134/8 with Unibet – has now won his last couple and he faces largely exposed rivals this afternoon.
I hope it is a good day for the excellent inform O’Brien as he looks to have found an ideal opportunity for his Cool Destination (4.15) to shed his maiden tag in the novice hurdle over three miles. The selection is a point winner in his native Ireland and finished runner up in a couple of novice hurdles last term. The penalised mare Liffeydale Dreamer and winning chaser Fort Gabriel are the dangers, but I hope to see Cool Destination – 13/8 with bet365 – takes this before switching to the larger obstacles.
In the finale I hope to see No Regrets (5.20) jump with more fluency than was the case at Perth last month when he would have finished runner up but for being hampered up the run in. His hurdling had lacked fluency but if Nicky Richards has worked on his jumping then he looks capable of defying his current mark granted good ground. The 4/1 with William Hill – 4 places – looks a fair price.
At Leicester Sorrel (4.00) looks ready for a step up to 12f for the first time. Sir Michael Stoute’s filly is out of a winner at this trip and, after just four career starts, she is open to significant improvement. The selection was only just touched off on good to soft ground last time and her breeding suggests today’s forecast fast ground will suit. The opening 2s with bet365 was too big and she is a best priced 5/4 at the time of posting.