Cheshire Day Preview - Chester Races
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Cheshire Day Preview - Chester Races

Saturday afternoon is Cheshire Day at Chester races, the penultimate fixture of the season on the famous Roodee turf and a real celebration of racing and the locality. They've got a seven-race card running from 2.00pm through until 5.25pm with some ultra-competitive handicaps on the famous old circuit. The Racing Post brings you their preview and analysis for all Saturday's high class action at Chester.



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2.00 - Boodles EBF Restricted Novice Stakes (7f)

The best form on the book belongs to Mahagoni, though Sir Mark Prescott's Muhaarar gelding can hardly be described as progressing after seven starts. He won a Chepstow maiden over 6f (good to firm) in June and has mostly been consistent since (222423) though he was defeated at odds-on last time at Epsom. Morgan Cole takes 7lb off his back here and they have claims.

Charlie Hills' runner Point Lynas is also 0-7 at this juncture and seems set to rival Mahagoni for favouritism. He has run well in better company but, again, Dane O'Neill's mount isn't holding a progressive profile now.

BOLTON ABBEY has been gelded since we saw him last at Thirsk (6f, good to firm) in late June attempting to carry a penalty for his previous Brighton score. He was not beaten far there and could have more to offer now upped in trip by George Boughey with his rider also able to claim 3lb. He earns a narrow vote.

Selection: Bolton Abbey

Next Best: Mahagoni


2.35 - Mr & Mrs Wilson Handicap (7f)

Having started life with Jim Bolger in Ireland, LEGAL REFORM has been consistent if not prolific since arriving on these shores with Ivan Furtado. The Lawman gelding gradually improved for his new yard and took advantage of a falling mark to score at Southwell over 7f on the Fibresand off 68 back in February.

He held that form in two more starts at the same venue either side of a mini-break and then, after struggling at Newmarket in May, went agonisingly close over this C&D (good) in June off this mark. He has been well held in his two runs since but he returns to this venue with a chance and could not ask for a better partner than Franny Norton, Chester's winning-most rider over the last five seasons.

The improving Mossbawn has notched successive wins at Thirsk since dropping back to this 7f journey and remains lightly-raced after only seven outings. He's tacked with another 3lb rise now but seems sure to run another big race from a fair draw.

The class-dropping Ffion is somewhat unfortunate to remain a maiden on turf - placed three times in six starts mostly in better races - and she could have a big say if a first-time hood has a positive effect in this lesser grade.

Selection: Legal Reform

Next Best: Ffion

3.10 - Support The Injured Jockeys Fund Nursery (6f)

Flaming Rib and STRAITS OF MOYLE have combined to win their last four starts and each now arrives here in pursuit of a hat-trick. Tom Dascombe's Ribchester colt was gutsy in his successes at Thirsk and York in the summer and retains potential for better still but it's something of a concern that he'll be lumping weight to the field here, even accounting for Pierre-Louis Jamin taking off 5lb.

That leaves preference for Richard Fahey's improving Straits Of Moyle. The gelded son of Prince Of Lir scored at Carlisle earlier this month and had no trouble following that up at Ayr during their Gold Cup Festival last weekend. He was carrying a 6lb penalty in Scotland but won readily and while he is now 9lb higher in the ratings as a consequence, that might not be enough to block his path.

Of the alternatives at likely larger odds, the returning Navello is one to note. He followed up a Brighton novice win in April with a really easy 5f score at this venue in a Conditions race in early May. His three runs since came in Listed/Group 2 company and saw him well held but it's far from inconceivable he'll get back on the right path now returning from a break for his handicap bow and George Boughey has enlisted Saffie Osborne to ease his burden to the tune of 5lb.

Selection: Straits Of Moyle

Next Best: Navello


3.45 - Ideal Recruit Edward Bryan Jones Memorial Handicap (1m2½f)

Seven runners and it would be dangerous to try and cross any of them off. Baryshnikov cannot be knocked for consistency. He notched wins over C&D and at Ripon earlier in the season (May/June) and returns here after a good second at the latter venue 26 days ago. He gets to race from the same mark today and will have his supporters.

Restorer is a former C&D winner and commands respect for Ian Williams coming back here in colours synonymous with Chester success, though his form this term isn't compelling.

Six Strings has had a productive run of it since joining Grant Tuer, winning 7f/1m handicaps at Catterick/Wetherby in early summer and proving a rock-solid performer since despite going 0-8 (second five times in that sequence). He is likely to give it his all again.

MR EXCELLENCY gets the call for the axis of Mark Johnston and Franny Norton. The Awtaad colt won a Newmarket handicap in June and supplemented that with a C&D success in early July. Things didn't go his way at Glorious Goodwood afterwards but he ran well there late last month and his C&D outing since is overlooked as he was bumped exiting the stalls and couldn't get his familiar front-running position as a result. He's 1lb lower as a result and, drawn in one, might find this an ideal assignment despite the slightly higher grade.

Selection: Mr Excellency

Next Best: Baryshnikov

4.20 - Boodles Novice Stakes (7½f)

A handful of these are going to need to improve dramatically on what they've managed on limited evidence to date if they are going to have a major say and so the obvious pair on paper are last-time-out winners MUJTABA and Enfranchise.

Mark Johnston's filly made every yard to score at Pontefract nine days ago under Franny Norton on her second start/turf bow. Form still six, she will have to be alert to repeat the dose here.

She also appears to have more on her plate in tackling once-raced winner Mujtaba for an in-form William Haggas yard.

The Dubawi gelding was strongly supported in the betting for his debut at Chepstow last month and he put away an experienced rival in really good style in the closing stages of that contest. They left the remainder strung out in behind and, if he handles this quirky track (needs to get a good position from widest stall) there's every chance he can follow up his penalty. Given his main rival is also drawn wider than ideal, Mujtaba secures the vote.

Selection: Mujtaba

Next Best: Enfranchise


4.55 - Mental Health UK Fillies' Handicap (1m2½f)

The hat-trick seeking Bookmark commands plenty respect here after following up a facile Pontefract maiden handicap success early this month with another comfortable score over this C&D 15 days ago. Michael Bell's daughter of New Approach finds herself up a further 6lb in the ratings now but is far from done with just yet.

This is, though, a competitive fillies' handicap and there are dangers aplenty lurking.

Libby Ami must rate as one of those, having won at Carlisle (1m, good) last month on first start after joining Grant Tuer. She has run well in both starts at Newcastle and Haydock and that all-weather run at Gosforth Park revealed she is well capable of seeing this trip out.

Diamond Jill and Golden Melody aren't without each-way claims but GALAH is the one that makes most appeal.

Ralph Beckett's Australia filly began this season with a pleasing Windsor run over this trip in April though she hasn't really managed to build on that in three further starts. Her most recent efforts at Salisbury and Leicester (1m4f, good to firm) have been fair ones and she's racing from a reduced mark now with a pair of first-time blinkers added. She might be able to take advantage having dropped to her previous win-mark.

Selection: Galah

Next Best: Bookmark

5.25 - Fireworks Extravaganza Handicap (1m6½f)

A real stayers contest to round off the card. Overhaugh Street is a dual course winner in the past and should be sharper for his seasonal bow here five weeks ago. He's operating from a very workable mark should that prove the case.

Toronado filly Fire Eyes excelled upped to 1m4f on the all-weather at Kempton last month, taking out a novice contest by almost 10-lengths. That was the longest she has raced over and there's certainly scope for more to come. She's changed hands for 38,000 gns since and makes her handicap debut here for new connections.

AURIFEROUS was enjoying a really consistent season prior to coming up well short at Ascot three weeks ago. That was in a higher grade and Andrew Balding's Golden Horn gelding could easily leave that effort behind him now. He's a major player in that scenario and the trainer has done well with his runners at Chester in 2021.

Fandabidozi is another consistent performer for the Mark Johnston/Franny Norton alliance and should go well, though he has passed up better chances this summer and is done no favours by the draw now either.

Selection: Auriferous

Next Best: Fire Eyes


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