2.15pm Chester – Betway Fillies’ Handicap Class Three – 6f 18yds
As with all handicaps, we have the gentle balancing act of decent recent form against the added weight that invariably entails, but there are some decent fillies entered here and it could well provide plenty of future winners in among the “also rans”. With the Richard Hannon string continuing to fire in the winners with a 21% strike rate in the past fortnight we cannot and don’t want to ignore the chances of Alsaaden (7/1 Each Way) here even if she did look one of the stable’s lesser lights when only fifth at Chester last time out, four lengths plus behind Justice Angel who she meets on seven pound better terms this afternoon. She actually had the better of the draw that day yet they still see happy to go in to battle again, and we can only assume she needed the run and is expected to turn that form around with race fitness now assured. Her first three races as a two-year-old were pretty decent with a win at Doncaster sandwiched by two second places, and if she can recapture that sort of form as expected here, she could well win with the better of the draw again today.
Popular trainer Richard Fahey had three early entries, all at the very bottom of the weights, and relies on Giddy (11/4) who was the one we really liked the look of from the start. Just the three career starts have seen the daughter of the legendary Kyllachy win first time out at Beverley before finding it all a bit much for one so inexperienced at Ayr in an eighteen runner nursery, after which she was put away for the winter with connections looking forward to her three-year-old season. Reappearing at Ripon, she suffered trouble in running before being beaten a head by Glenrowan Rose which is pretty decent form, and she seems sure to put up a bold showing today.
Much as we keep looking, we still get drawn back to one particular horse, with the David Elsworth trained Justice Angel (11/4) who is rapidly improving this season and may well be able to stay one step ahead of the handicapper. She did win a couple of races last season from seven races and looked as if she needed the race when a distant third at Windsor on soft ground but given a quicker surface here over course and distance, she ran on fro a neck success where she looked to have plenty in hand had Silvestre De Sousa needed to pull out all the stops. She has been put up five pounds for that win, but if she gets her ground again on Saturday she has place chances at the very least and may still have a bit more left to find this season.
Andrew Balding trains Secret Hint (4/1) who has the burden of top weight but looked to be returning something like her best form last time out at York when second to Lil Sophella, only going down fighting by half a length and giving the winner ten pounds. She was caught close home that day and a look at her winning form shows us that both her victories have been over this six furlongs and not the seven she has tried for her last six outings which is encouraging. She will have to shoulder more to victory in ratings terms than she has managed in the past but she would have won had the race been over a furlong less at Windsor, and is thus worthy of some serious consideration here.
Lastly, Plagiarism (18/1) looks a no hoper here even if she is trained by Mark Johnston but she is plummeting down the weights at speed which may give her some kind of chance. She did win first time out last season at Newcastle over the minimum trip of five furlongs but has failed to score in five races since including when a well beaten ninth on her return at Newmarket and filling the same position at Ripon when last seen. She has been dropped nine pounds in her last three runs and could run a bit better today though we still can’t really see her winning here.
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