It is the first day of Chester's May Festival, and Follow The Money will be focusing on the meeting on what promises to be an exciting and informative afternoon's racing, with a bit of summer jumping at Newton Abbot thrown in...
The competitive Lily Agnes, which gets the Chester card underway at 13:50, is targeted by several stables and as a result plenty of runners have been well backed. This has resulted in a weakness in tissue favourite Emilia James, who has drifted from 3.505/2 out to 5.805/1. She has done little wrong in two starts thus far, but the small sample of collateral form available suggests she has been going well in much weaker events. The third, fourth and sixth home in her debut race have all been well beaten subsequently, whilst nothing has yet boosted the form of her maiden win. Add to that a tricky draw in stall nine and the likelihood she will be caught in a pace duel up front, and a place lay at 2.0421/20 looks appealing.
For our each way selection we turn our attention to the Chester Cup at 15:35, the feature of the whole week. In a typically lively betting market, the strength in Who Dares Wins is hard to get away from. Well backed initially at around 11.010/1, he is still holding up strongly in the market at a current price of 6.205/1. Enthusiasm for him is based on the fact he has a favourable drawn in stall 7, was much improved over hurdles during the last jumps season, and yet remains unexposed as a stayer on the flat. He should relish the conditions this afternoon and seems sure to give each way backers a good run for their money.
Shortly after that race we nip over to Newton Abbot for our back selection at 15:45. In a really decent handicap chase for the time of year, the Dan Skelton-trained Virgilio has been the subject of strong vibes, his price contracting from 4.2016/5 into 3.2011/5. He has a real liking for summer ground and faces a significantly easier task than on recent outings in Grade 1 and 2 company. Despite facing the likes of Might Bite and running creditably, the handicapper has seen fit to drop his mark from a peak of 148 last season to 142 today. That leniency could easily result in a return to the winners enclosure.
Lay Emilia James for a place @ 2.0421/20 in the 13:50 at Chester
Back Who Dares Wins ew @ 6.205/1 in the 15:35 at Chester
Back Virgilio to win @ 3.2011/5 in the 15:45 at Newton Abbot
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