Chester May Festival Preview. (Friday)


Welcome aboard to my preview for the 2023 Chester May Festival that gets underway on Wednesday on the Roodee and concludes on Friday with Chester Cup Day. I’ll be previewing all the action giving my thoughts and opinions so as ever, if you are having a bet make sure to do it responsibly.

It’s the 1:30 where we start again for Day Three of the Chester May Festival and this a Class 2 handicap that’s contested over seven furlongs. I think that this can go to Boardman for Tim Easterby and Sean Kirrane who takes off three pounds. He’s been a very admirable yardstick for the Easterby stable and is a course and distance winner at this track having won here twice. He’s not been seen to best effect so far this term but his run last time was more promising, and with the jockey’s claim he could be on a decent mark.

Next up it’s the 2:05 which is more handicap action this time over the longer distance of a mile and two and a half furlongs. I’ve sided with Baryshnikov here for the Barron team and Billy Loughlane who takes off three pounds. He’s also a course and distance winner having won this race year, and will get to contest today’s renewal off the same mark he did when successful last year. He also progressed from his first run of the season last time out at Pontefract.

The 2:40 is up next which is the Group 2 Huxley Stakes that’s contested over a mile and two and a half furlongs. I think that this particular affair is all about Point Lonsdale who currently heads the betting for the Ballydoyle team of Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore. The yard have already been in the winner’s enclosure this week and I think that this four-year-old colt by Australia presents them with another very live opportunity. He returned to the track last month at Curragh when winning a Group 3 on heavy ground and looks to have a big season ahead of him, he’s the one they all have to beat.

It’s the feature at 3:15 which is none other than the Chester Cup which is a Heritage Handicap that’s ridden over a trip of two miles and two and a half furlongs. The race is always a notoriously competitive affair with this year’s renewal no different, I’ve taken a chance on Metier though who represents the team of Harry Fry and Saffie Osbourne. He’s no stranger to winning a competitive handicap having won the November Handicap at Doncaster at the end of last season, and he returned to the track with a very promising run at Musselburgh in another in the form of the Queen’s Cup. I think he’s got a great chance here on ground he’ll have no issue with at all.

The 3:45 is where we go now which is a maiden event that’s ridden over a mile and four and a half furlongs. I think that this is all about Banderas for the combination of Ryan Moore and Michael Bell who currently sits at the top of the betting. He was last seen at Newbury when being ran down close home to eventually finish second, after travelling powerfully up the straight. If repeating that effort here he has to be considered as massive player.

It’s the 4:20 which is the penultimate race of the meeting and this is an apprentice handicap which is also contested over a mile and four and a half furlongs. This could well go to By Your Side who’s an Irish challenger for Gordon Elliott and ridden by the talented Billy Loughlane. He went close at Punchestown last time when over hurdles and might be well treated back on the flat under Loughlane’s claim, this doesn’t look the strongest race in the world either.

Bringing the curtain down is the 4:55 which is the Chester Plate over two miles and two and a half furlongs, and is for horses who didn’t make it into the Chester Cup. In this year’s renewal of the concluding race I think that Justus could send punters home happy for Ian Williams and Dougie Costello. He bolted up by nine and a half lengths in a Doncaster handicap on heavy ground last time out and hasn’t been too harshly treated in the weights. I think that there could still be more to come from him.

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