Chester May Festival Preview - May 4-6
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Chester May Festival Preview - May 4-6

The Chester May Festival runs from Wednesday May 4th until Friday May 6th and signals the beginning of a brand new season on the Roodee turf. They've got some high-quality racing across three days, including key trials for next month's Epsom Derby and Oaks and the Racing Post previews the best of the Chester action across the three-day May Festival.


Day One - Wednesday


1.30pm - ICM Stellar Sports Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes (5f)

Six line up in the Chester opener and four of them are winners already, with Star Of Lady M and Ocean Cloud both 2-2 so far for David O'Meara and Gay Kellaway respectively. The former is hugely respected in this contest, but David Loughnane's ABSOLUTELY FLAWLESS is preferred.

The Ribchester filly was a bit green on debut last month at Southwell, but ultimately finished well on top at the line. There's more to come and, in this small field, her wide draw isn't a major worry and she's taken to finish fastest.


2.05pm - Free Chester Placepot Every Day Handicap (5f)

After a much-improved and wide margin score at Sandown 12 days ago, LIVE IN THE DREAM is hard to oppose here for Adam West, with the booking of Ryan Moore a further plus.

He's got a perfect draw in stall two from which to adopt positive tactics again and he went away from his rivals in the style of an improving horse last time. Shamlaan is another sprinter going the right way and cannot be discounted.

Selection: Live In The Dream

Next Best: Shamalan


2.40pm - Weatherbys Bloodstock Pro Cheshire Oaks (Fillies' Listed, 1m3½f)

Aidan O'Brien has won the Cheshire Oaks six times since 2008 and would equal the record if Thoughts Of June can prevail under Ryan Moore, but they have ground to find to match ABOVE THE CURVE judged on their Leopardstown meeting early last month.

The Joseph O'Brien-trained winner didn't get a perfect trip that afternoon, but she ended up winning with lots in hand and is surely open to plenty progress on third appearance.

Night Battle is a Kingman filly that cost the hefty sum of 470,000 gns and she looked a really smart prospect at Lingfield four weeks ago when scoring on debut for Simon & Ed Crisford.

Selection: Above The Clouds

Next Best: Night Battle


3.10pm - Boodles Chester Vase Stakes (Group 3, 1m4f)

Changingoftheguard is a possible improver for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore having easily justified odds-on favouritism in a 1m2½f Dundalk maiden last month, but he'll have to go some to get to NEW LONDON on paper.

Charlie Appleby's Dubawi colt impressed when making it 2-2 at the Craven Meeting recently, readily besting a useful fellow Godolphin-owned runner from the John & Thady Gosden string. That form, allied to the probability that he will be suited trying this new trip, makes him the likeliest winner.

Selection: New London

Next Best: Changingoftheguard


3.40pm - Deepbridge Handicap (6f)

Ever Given was 2-2 in handicaps last season and also bagged a big pot in a Sales race at York in August before missing out by a fraction in a similar event at Doncaster's St Leger Festival.

He's moved from Tom Dascombe to Hugo Palmer and is a leading player on reappearance despite top weight.

GOLDEN WARRIOR surely wasn't himself on All-Weather Finals Day at Newcastle last month and Marco Botti's charge, who had shown excellent form on synthetics previous to that, was a winner on turf last season and can rebound here.

Selection: Golden Warrior

Next Best: Ever Given

Day Two - Thursday


1.30pm - ICM Stellar Sports Handicap (5f)

It's worth taking a chance on SUNDAY SOVEREIGN in the day two opener for Tim Easterby. He was a Chester winner last summer over a similar trip on his only previous Roodee start.

He's only rated 1lb higher now and his recent comeback spin around Musselburgh should leave him spot on for this. Alligator Alley is potentially well-handicapped on what is only his second start after moving from Joseph O'Brien to David O'Meara.

Selection: Sunday Sovereign

Next Best: Alligator Alley


2.05pm - Deepbridge Handicap (7½f)

MY LITTLE TIP ended last season with a hat-trick of September successes in just eight days at Salisbury, Yarmouth and Catterick - shooting up the ratings in doing so. He was too keen for his own good on comeback at Newbury last month and paid a tariff late on for that. There may be more to come now for an in-form George Boughey string.

He will have to get some luck in the run from his wide draw, though that shouldn't be true of City Runner - berthed in stall two for Brian Meehan and Jamie Spencer and liable to give a bold sight to the field from the front after a near miss at Sandown recently.

Selection: My Little Tip

Next Best: City Runner


2.40pm - Homeserve Dee Stakes (Listed, 1m2½f)

Last year's winning trainer/jockey combo Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni team up with Dubai Poet here and he'll have sound claims if seeing out this extra two-furlongs. MR MCCANN is preferred for the Hugo Palmer string.

He made all for an impressive win at Epsom over an extended-mile in the autumn and looks sure to appreciate the longer trip now with a first-time tongue-tie added and red-hot pilot James Doyle booked.

Selection: Mr McCann

Next Best: Dubai Poet


3.10pm - Proud To Support Chester Racecourse Ormonde Stakes (Group 3, 1m5½f)

Proven to go well fresh, this looks a good starting point for ALBAFLORA for the Ralph Beckett team. A Listed winner at Ascot last May on comeback, she would end the season with successive silver medals in Group 1 contests at York and Ascot over 1m4f and, on that form, she has to hold major claims in this grade on comeback.

Thunderous may have needed the run at Newbury last month after 301 days out and should be all the sharper for it. He's got the form to be a player.

Selection: Albaflora

Next Best: Thunderous


3.40pm - Boodles Raindance Handicap (1m2½f)

Desert Emperor has progressed on the all-weather during a winter/spring campaign since we last saw him on turf finishing fourth at Epsom in September.

It's reasonable to expect that he can go well here. Saravan is bidding for a hat-trick but is high enough in the ratings now and it may be that unexposed PRIDE OF PRIORY - also seeking to complete a treble - is best placed for William Haggas and Tom Marquand after an easy win on handicap bow at Haydock.

Selection: Pride Of Priory

Next Best: Desert Emperor

Day Three - Friday


2.40pm - Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Ire-Incentive Scheme Huxley Stakes (Group 2, 1m2½f)

AL AASY holds the ace hand in this pack for William Haggas and Jim Crowley. He was a convincing winner on seasonal bow last season and should be just fine after a break now, ensuring he's fancied to take revenge on Solid Stone, who beat him at Newbury in September.

Selection: Al Aasy

Next Best: Solid Stone


3.15pm - Tote+ Chester Cup Handicap (2m2½f)

A stamina-sapping journey around the famous Roodee circuit. Falcon Eight won last year for Dermot Weld and Frankie Dettori, but will have more on his plate now. Unexposed 4YO Cleveland could be interesting if turning out for Aidan O'Brien, while Metier is very interesting for Harry Fry after a rock-solid season hurdling.

SOLENT GATEWAY was denied a clear run at a crucial time at Epsom last month in his comeback run. From an unchanged mark of 90, Hugo Palmer's challenger can go well granted a clear run now.

Selection: Solent Gateway

Next Best: Metier






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