2.10pm Chester – Gateley Plc Original Legal Thinking Handicap Class Two – 1m 2f 75yds
An interesting handicap to start off Thursday with plenty of last time out winners looking to shrug off their increased handicap marks over this mile and a quarter plus. Our selection looks like a good place to start and Perrault (12/1 Each Way) could pull off a surprise for trainer Richard Fahey and top jockey Paul Hanagan. He gets in off bottom weight of eight stone five today which we think gives him a decent chance, with improvement on the cards after just the five career starts. He won his maiden at the second attempt over this ten furlong trip by a very easy six lengths at odds of 2/7, but failed to add to that in three other starts though the last two were over a mile and a half which clearly didn’t suit the son of Rip Van Winkle. Dropped back to a more suitable trip, fresh, and well weighted, he has a great chance this afternoon and will be carrying our money today at his value price.
With the Sir Michael Stoute yard remaining in good if not necessarily spectacular form, Darshini (9/2) ought to run a big race under Ted Durcan after scoring on his return to action at Chelmsford when he stayed on strongly over this trip to see off Emerald by a length. Sent off the 6/4 favourite that day, he may not have as much improvement to come as many will think, as he looked pretty fit in the paddock before the race, but he does seem to be getting better race on race and could yet get in to the mix. Runner up Emerald ran well even if he was unlucky at Newmarket last Saturday so the form looks solid, but his position with us will largely depend on his price overnight come race day.
Newmarket stalwart Ed Dunlop had a decent and well supported winner on 1000 Guineas day and will be expecting a big run from Dark Red (11/2) here who will be trying to land his hat trick. An all-weather victory at Chelmsford was followed with a soft ground win at Epsom, and although he was all out that day, he may be better suited by a faster surface here with any luck. Put up another six pounds for that win life will be trickier for the son of Dark Angel from now on and sadly for connections that looks harsh and a place may be the best he can hope for now the handicapper possibly has his measure.
Despite the burden of top weight and nine stone seven we still feel that Eve Johnson Houghton will expect a big run from What About Carlo (8/1), a five-year-old gelding who will be ridden by George Baker. His last three wins have all been over this trip on varying ground so the going is unlikely to be of any issue, though he does race today off a mark four pounds higher than his last win in September last year at Newbury. He was beaten close to four lengths by Dark Red on his return to action at Epsom last month but is six pounds better off this afternoon and as he seems sure to strip a lot fitter this afternoon and his rival had an advantage of a prior run that day, there may not be much between the pair of them today.
Although it makes precious little sense to us, we are still intrigued to see Richard Fahey drop English Summer (22/1) back in trip today as opposed to his other entry in the stamina sapping Chester Cup. We all know by now how much his trainer loves a winner or two here, but the nine-year-old was last seen over this sort of trip at Saint-Cloud in October 2007, and has never won at much less than a mile and a half in 67 career starts! We have to say that makes him pretty hard to fancy here, which when added to a running on victory at Catterick over a mile and a half when last seen, and it would have to be seen as a major upset were he to succeed today.
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