The second day of the Chester Boodles May Festival is Ladies Day (Thursday 9 May) and the first four races on the card are being televised live on ITV.
The highlight is the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes, a race that has been won by the likes of Harbinger, St Nicholas Abbey, Brown Panther, Clever Cookie, and Idaho in the last 10-years. This year’s race is set to feature last year’s St Leger winner Kew Gardens, whose main rivals look to be last year’s Chester Cup winner Magic Circle and last year’s St Simon’s Stakes winner Morando.
Check out our analysis and free tip for the 2019 Ormonde Stakes, as well as our free tips for the Gateley PLC Handicap, the Homeserve Dee Stakes, and the Deepbridge Capital Handicap.
Gateley Handicap (1.50)
Copper Knight has been installed as the early favourite for this five-furlong race but, though he looks ideally drawn in stall one, this course and distance winner is being asked to carry 4lb more and defy a 4lb higher rating than any of the last 10 winners. That means he could be worth taking on.
The last 10 winners had all carried between 8-5 and 9-3, with nine of those winners coming out of stalls 1-4, whilst eight of them were aged four or five. That suggests that the two most likely winners are either Fool For You or Mokaatil.
Mokaatil is race-fit after four runs already this season but, whilst he has an obvious chance, he has revealed his hand to the handicapper already this season.
That’s not the case with Fool For You, who hasn’t raced for 229 days, and he could easily have matured enough since that last run to have a few pounds in hand as a four-year-old. He also ran well when second on his previous run at Chester, when he got a little boxed in from stall-one. Stall-three should give him a little more room to manoeuvre and he’s also 7lb better off with the re-opposing Gold Filigree who looks to have an unfavourable draw in stall-13.
Homeserve Dee Stakes (2.25)
The Dee Stakes is a Listed Race run over 1 mile 2 furlongs and 70 yards. It was first run in 1813 and its roll of honour includes Oath, Kris Kin, and Pentire. More recently, it has been harvested by trainer Aidan O’Brien who has won five of the last seven editions, with Ryan Moore riding three of those winners.
Another big statistic is that none of the last 10 winners was drawn in either stalls one or two, with all winners in the last decade being drawn in between stalls three and seven.
That means it’s really hard to oppose Circus Maximus, as the Aidan O’Brien horse is at least 3lb well in with all his rivals on official ratings. He’s also won on ground as soft as heavy and is bred to excel at middle distances this year. His two-year-old form also looks very strong as he ran well when placed behind two of this year’s star-milers Persian King and Magna Grecia on his last two starts.
Deepbridge Capital Handicap (3.00)
The Deepbridge Capital Handicap takes place over seven furlongs and is fairly punter-friendly with only one winner returned at double-figure odds in the last decade.
Seven of those winners were drawn between stalls one and four, with no winner drawn higher than stall-seven. Eight of the ten winners had also enjoyed a prep run, whilst ratings varied between 86 and 100, and weight carried varying between 8-7 and 9-7.
The horse that catches the eye the most is Lincoln Park in stall 3, which looks a nice draw for a horse that won twice when front-running on ground with cut in it last year. One of those wins also came on heavy, so it shouldn’t matter if the ground gets really soft. Jockey Silvestre De Sousa is also one win from one ride on him and the fact he’s back in the saddle today looks a statement of intent from shrewd trainer Mick Appleby.
Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes (3.35)
This Group 3 is the highlight of the day and it is run over a distance of 1 mile 5 furlongs and 84 yards. Several classy four-year-olds have won this on their way to better things, but none of them in the last decade were asked to concede a 7lb Group 1 penalty as Kew Gardens has to this year.
It could simply be a case that the St Leger winner is simply too classy for today’s opposition, but his penalty means he has nothing in hand on official ratings with two of his rivals, whilst he’s not been at his best on his first run in either of the last two seasons.
That could make him vulnerable to Morando, who is a much different animal than the one who won on his only previous visit to Chester, when winning a handicap off a mark of 86.
It took a while for connections to work out that he is a middle-distance performer of some potential, which he demonstrated with a win in a Group 3 on his last start. That was the first time he had run over 12 furlongs and there’s no reason why he won’t stay today’s trip at a speedy track like Chester. He also handles soft ground well, whilst he’s run terrific races on his seasonal debuts in both the last two years.
The first of those was when beating the high-class Stormy Antarctic over a mile, whilst last year he was only beaten around 1½ lengths by the top-class Crystal Ocean. He’s also ridden for the first-time by Silvestre De Sousa here and he and trainer Andrew Balding have struck up a formidable partnership so far this season.