Race Time: 2.10pm Meeting: Chester Distance: 7f 122 yards
Full Race Name: Betfair Earl Grosvenor Handicap Class Two
Some of us are firmly of the opinion that seven furlongs is a specialist distance – too far for the sprinters and not far enough for the milers, and with Chester a tight track that doesn’t suit everyone, starting with previous course and distance winners looks like a sensible idea. Marcret fits that particular job description, and with so many of Ruth Carr’s horses improving considerably for their first run of the new season, perhaps we can forgive him his recent ninth of thirteen at Haydock. Let on then same handicap mark, the fact is he has won three times here now from eight attempts (plus a third place), and has won off a mark two pounds higher – certainly one for anyone’s short list granted the obligatory decent draw.
Marco Botti is expanding on an almost annual basis at his Newmarket yard and he houses an intriguing contender here in Energia Flavio who is an ex Brazilian and we don’t mean footballer! He won a couple of races at Gavea for whatever that might be worth, but hasn’t seemed to get his act together over here just yet, though as it can take some time to settle in from another Continent, he could burst in to life any time now, possibly even this afternoon? Brazos is our second outsider who could pull off a shock if only because the four year old sports first time blinkers for trainer Clive Brittain. His form looks awful at first glance but he has been competing in some decent events, and if the headgear has the desired affect then he could well be seriously overpriced. Wins earlier in his career at Goodwood and Ascot have seen him fighting off the handicapper pretty much ever since, but with Louis Steward taking a very useful three pounds off he has as good a chance as in a long time and could well make it in to the first three.
Decent recent form is another angle that needs to be considered and as we only have two winners last time out, step forward One Word More closely followed by Colour Blue. Tim Easterby trains the son of Thousand Words who scored on his reappearance at Thirsk when winning with a bit in hand at odds of 14/1, which in turn suggests he would be a shoe in to improve for the run, and with a race record at around this trip of two wins two seconds and a third from ten attempts, he does look almost nailed on for a place at the very least.
If Irish raider Colour Blue comes over (weather permitting) then that could be seen as a hint in itself – it’s a long and costly journey over unless you are expecting to collect plenty of prize money. Trying to collate Irish form isn’t as easy as some think unless they compete over here of course, but he did win at Tipperary over this trip last time out when staying on strongly, and although possibly not pacey enough to win, will be staying on strong as the weaker ones cry off inside the final furlong.