Doncaster Racecourse

The ground was described as good to soft – soft in places – on the Roodeye on Thursday morning ahead of Chester Cup day with the prospect of further rain ahead of the course’s biggest day of the year. Conditions looked to be drying out throughout the day on Thursday, however, and it is no surprise to see confirmed mudlover Brentford Hope taken out of the opener. He remains one to keep on side when the mud is flying.

Revich is likely to be all the rage given he has such a good course record – three wins from five runs – and he has the plum draw in stall one for one who can race prominently. He ran a terrific race in the Newbury Spring Cup last time and Tom Marquand is unbeaten on the 5-y-old having been in the plate when they teamed up over a slightly shorter trip here back in August.

Marginal preference, however, is for Dulas (1.45) who looked to appreciate the extended 7f trip at Haydock last time when runner up to a stablemate. Charlie Hills’ father Barry loved to have winners at Chester and the close-season gelding operation looks to have helped this son of Raven’s Pass. The 5s with Boylesports looks about right.

Rare Groove has long been my fancy for the Chester Cup but a draw in stall 16 muddies the waters although I am not convinced it is a great renewal of this valuable and prestigious handicap. The each way vote goes to Coeur De Lion (2.45) who won the consolation race here two years ago on heavy ground and looks sure to be staying on when many have cried enough. A draw in stall eight is adequate but he is not likely to get involved in the early skirmishes and the hope is that it becomes a true stamina test on the final circuit. The each way recommendation is 11s with MansionBet 6 places.

Postileo heads the market for the consolation event and looks sure to run a big race, but his ability to stay this extended 2m 2f trip on ground with plenty of cut must be taken on trust although he did get 2m on polytrack last time when runner up in the Queen’s Vase at Kempton.

Elysian Flame (4.20) has never quite hit the heights I thought he might achieve earlier in his career, but the ground has come in his favour and he can defy 9st 10lbs for Mick Easterby. The ew selection – 11/2 with William Hill – carries a 3lbs penalty for his recent Newbury success but would be carrying another 3lbs if this were not an early closing race.   

My Swallow (4.40) was taken out of a race at Chester on Thursday due to the good to soft going and, we are advised, not the fact that he was drawn out on the wing in stall ten of ten. At the time of writing Sir Michael Stoute appears happy enough to let his 3-y-old take his chance at Ascot although the official going description is also good to soft.

This straight mile should be within his compass and he looks to have been let in lightly from an opening mark of 84. The selection – 3s with William Hill – beat Bullace at Sandown on his second start and the runner up – who has won his last three starts – is now rated 93.

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