Ryan Moore and Japan shone on day two at Chester. Nathan Joyes rounds up yesterday, looks ahead to the Chester Cup as well as an intriguing sprint at Ascot.
"Mark Johnston and Franny Norton, who won the last Chester Cup in 2019, link up together with Trumpet Man today, who opened up at 17.016/1 on the sportsbook this morning."
It's the finale of the Chester May Festival today, and as we get into the flat season groove, there's plenty of sprint action with meetings at Ascot, Ripon, Nottingham and Cork - albeit most tracks have received a fair few mm's of rain...
There's a couple of jumps meetings at Market Rasen and Downpatrick, if that's more your bag.
Before we turn our attention to Chester's last day, let's recap on the headline events of day two.
Japan shows his class
Well, we all should have listened to Ryan Moore in his column yesterday, right? Japan timed his run to perfection in the Ormonde Stakes, squeezing past Sonnyboyliston on the inside rail around the bend before pulling out to the centre of the track to hold off the very well supported Trueshan.
As I flagged up yesterday, Trueshan's opening price at 5/1 wasn't going to hang around for long, and Balding's horse went off second favourite at 9/4. Trueshan put in a valiant effort, but Japan's class shone through despite the soft ground, which was Moore's only concern heading into the race.
El Drama springs a surprise in the Dee Stakes
It's fair to say Roger Varian's three-year-old wasn't fancied at all in the 14:15 at Chester, going off at 13.012/1 but a fine performance under the ride of Andrea Atzeni saw El Drama backed into 17.016/1 from a huge 67.066/1 to win the Epsom Derby.
Although El Drama's rather easy victory shocked many, one man it didn't surprise was his trainer.
Varian said: "He showed a lot of ability as a two-year-old and we were treating him as a Guineas horse, so had to get a couple of runs into him to get some experience and he ran well but we knew he'd be a better horse on the grass."
Chester Cup Odds
In what will be a rollercoaster of a day for traders, no horse appears to be a surprise winner in this 17 runner field.
Not So Sleepy opened up as the favourite last night, but has since been joined by Ryan Moore's Cardona and Frankie Dettori's Falcon Eight, all currently 8.07/1. No surprise to see those two being supported nice and early...
The original favourite, Not So Sleepy, has course form, although that was a 1m2f four runner field all the way back in May 2015. The nine-year-old has had two runs over jumps this season at huge odds, and Hughie Morrison will be hoping a return to the flat will see him go well.
Mark Johnston and Franny Norton, who won the last Chester Cup in 2019, link up together with Trumpet Man today, who opened up at 17.016/1 on the sportsbook this morning.
A hat-trick of wins last year at Nottingham, Newcastle and Haydock reads fairly well in the context of the race, and he's proven on a softer surface, which bodes well considering the amount of water which has fallen on the track this week.
He did, however, finish behind a couple of today's entries when last seen at Musselburgh over 1m6f, which saw Themaxwecan come out on top and Nate The Great back in fourth. Both of which are priced up at 21.020/1 to land today's prestigious cup.
Good luck if you're trying your hand today, and as I've reminded you all week, those who relish the softer conditions could be the safest bet in this tricky looking line up.
Dudman's 172/1 double
Our racing tipster has carefully looked through the races at Chester, where he believes he's found two big-priced selections, which make it an exciting double as the Festival draws to a close.
Race of the day
With so much attention on Chester, and rightly so, I've taken a breather from there and turned my attention towards Ascot. There's a Class 2 Handicap 7f sprint over at 15:00 this afternoon, which has seven declared, including William Haggas' unbeaten Aldaary.
Haggas' three-year-old is two from two, winning over six furlongs on soft ground at Yarmouth, before an easy victory over the same distance at Leicester, despite the ground being rather heavy on that occasion.
That run was back in October 2020, so it's been quite a long break for Aldaary, and with the ground set to suit once more, there's a possible question mark around the step up in trip. However, that's only a small doubt, considering the manner in which the three-year-old has won both races to date.
It isn't hard to see why Aldaary opened up as the 15/8 favourite, although there are a couple of other interesting runners in this one.
Les Eyre's Just Frank looks an outside threat, having opened up on the sportsbook at 7.06/1. Eyre's three-year-old has won two of his six races to date, including the Tattersalls Auction Stakes at Newmarket on soft ground. That day, he dispatched 26 other runners, under a positive ride down the middle of the track by Lee Edmunds, who is on board once again today.
The run prior to his victory at Newmarket came at Thirsk over seven furlongs, so there's plenty of positives for Eyre's three-year-old, who certainly has more race experience than others in the line up.
Aldaary's closest competitor in the market is Stylish Performer, who opened up the betting at 5.04/1. Having finished second on debut at Wolverhampton over six furlongs, the three-year-old has returned to the track twice and has returned home with two victories.
Both performances have certainly caught the eye, and the market doesn't seem too keen to take him on, but winning on the all-weather compared to soft ground at Ascot is completely different, and there's definitely an unknown whether or not Stylish Performer can replicate his recent form on turf.
Calvin's picked out his Chester Cup bet
The main man at Betfair has stepped up to the plate once again and has offered his opinion and best bet for the Chester Cup this afternoon. In what looks a complex race, I'd recommend you take a look at what the expert has to say on Chester's main race.
Stat of the day
Moore offers his opinion...
Fresh from his win on Japan yesterday, Betfair ambassador Ryan Moore talks us through his rides he has lined up this weekend. The star jockey heads to Lingfield on Saturday.
Rhys Williams heads to Ascot
Racing expert Rhys Williams has analysed the 15:30 over at Ascot, where he's found two overpriced selections who will relish the soft conditions.
Nottingham's action-packed card
Away from the limelight, there's an intriguing card at Nottingham today, and Timeform have done some digging and picked out their best bets.
If you're a jumps fan like me, it's hard to not be pleasantly surprised with the quality on show at Market Rasen tomorrow.
But something did catch my eye when looking through the cards, which is worth keeping in mind if you're having a play.
Despite Jonjo O'Neill having not returned a winner in three weeks, it's definitely an eyebrow raiser to see him line up three favourites today - with Jonjo jr doing the steering aboard all three - he himself, has only had one winner in the past 21 days.
I'm not saying these aren't capable of turning up and performing, but it's quite concerning to see them all open as favourites. If you like an each-way play, and prefer to take on the fav, today might be the perfect day for you to strike at Market Rasen.
And with that, I wish you a good weekend. Daryl Carter will be taking the hot seat as of next week, so make sure you come and see what he has to say.
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