2.50pm Chester – Betway Handicap Class Two – 7f 122yds
This Saturday seems full of fascinating if competitive handicaps and this seven furlong plus event is certainly high on the list of most interesting. We like the each way chances at a price of Sound Advice (11/1 Each Way) who deserves his place on the short list with the Keith Dalgleish yard still in good form and Robert Winston on a one in four strike rate in the past two weeks (as we write). Twice a course and distance winner (so he loves it round Chester), he only has to carry a solitary pound more than when winning here in August last year, and he gets his ground today and an acceptable draw in the five stall, which are call positives. He has run well without success off of higher marks than this, and he looks like rock solid each way value to us and well worthy of being our selection here this afternoon.
Saeed Bin Suroor is responsible for top weight Best Of Times (13/2) who will have the assistance of William Buick in the plate this afternoon as the four-year-old looks to make it a fourth career win here. After the obligatory educational debut when only sixth at Newmarket on soft ground the son of Dubawi rattled off two quick wins as a juvenile before winning on his debut last season at Newmarket in the Listed Newmarket Stakes (over ten furlongs) before a career best second to Storm The Stars over eleven furlongs in the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood. We think that form gives him a rating a good few pounds higher than the 105 he is lumbered with today but the trip of less than a mile is a real issue and we suspect things may all happen that bit too quickly for him here.
Kevin Ryan will have been delighted with the win of Al Khan (9/1) at Ayr last time out though a weight rise of seven pounds seems pretty harsh in our view. They have always thought a lot of the now seven-year-old and he has been well placed to win ten of his sixty-three career starts, and now he seems back in the mood again, he could well follow up this afternoon, though a bit more rain to soften the going would certianly aid his chances.
Well handicapped as others could be, the figures pale in comparison to those of Ocean Tempest (12/1) who is well in at his best, only trouble is his best was way back in 2014! Now a seven-year-old, he won over course and distance in August that year off a rating of 115, his second win off that rating meaning it cannot be considered any kind of fluke. His record here is three wins for three starts which is hard to knock, and although he has run up seven races without a sniff of success since his last win, the grey son of Act One is an intriguing each way option off a mark a full twenty pounds lower than he is capable of shrugging off.
We all know by now in this game that those most deserving don’t necessarily get the prize, but poor Capo Rosso (9/1) does deserve a win after three second place finishes in a row on the all-weather. Beaten a length by Librisa Breeze at Wolverhampton he was then three quarters of a length behind Jack Of Diamonds at the same track, and finally a neck behind Jailawi at Lingfield but all three efforts were a step ahead of his recent form on grass, and it seems likely he will struggle to reproduce it on this very different surface.
Channel 4 tips for every race – click here to see all our Channel 4 tips!