3.25pm Chester – Champions League Final Betting At Betway Handicap Class Three – 1m 5f 89yds
John Quinn has won the last two renewals with Swnymor and Trendsetter (6/1), and the latter named is back again in 2016 looking for repeat as a five-year-old and has a pretty decent chance. Three pounds higher in the weights this season than last, life will be a bit more difficult but that is not in our view an unsurmountable weight rise, and he is in with an each way chance. Admittedly he hasn’t won in six races since this day last year, but he had a nice little run around here over a mile and a half early this month, and with that run under his belt and this race quite clearly the master plan, we expect a better run than his price would suggest in the circumstances.
Sadly for his connections, we prefer the chances of Ruth Carr’s Be Perfect (11/1 Each Way), her only runner on the card and at an each way price as well. A seven-year-old son of Street Cry, he seems to like it round here with a win and a second from just the three outings, and found a mile and a half a bit too short when swamped for speed by Sir Chauvelin last time out at Hamilton but he meets that rival on ten pounds better terms today for six lengths and back at his favourite track, we think he can reverse that form today.
Donald McCain is not necessarily a trainer we all associate with the flat, but there is little doubt that Venue (25/1) arrives here well handicapped all be it a little out of form. Back in 2013 when in the care of Lady Cecil, the son of Beat Hollow took a Haydock handicap off a rating of 92, and as he spent the majority of the intervening years over hurdles we couldn’t really tell how well he was doing with regard to this race. Returning on the flat here in May he was a well eleventh beaten behind No Heretic here before an equally lacklustre sixth of eight to My Reward at Haydock last time out. Neither effort exactly inspires, but he has dropped to a mark of 87, a full five pounds lower than his finest hour, and if he can be brought back to his best there is no argument that he could be well handicapped today.
Trainer John Berry (or the Mayor of Newmarket to his friends) is one of the most entertaining and intelligent trainers it has been our fortune to meet, and he has one of the in form options here with the five year-old Indira (6/1), who has won her last three and four of her last five with Josephine Gordon in the saddle. Her turf form has seen her run on strongly here over slightly shorter so the track shouldn’t be of any issue, and now she has matured and strengthened further she should get the trip, but an extra seven pounds for her last win and a total weight rise of a stone and a half would stop an elephant and she ought to struggle to do better than a place here under her new rating.
Lastly for now, top weight Sir Chauvelin (6/1) sits there for a reason, and winning his last two races at Hamilton is a big part of it. A winner over hurdles at Musselburgh, he stays this trip and further but is yet to have a run around Chester which some horses simply cannot handle, and that has to be a concern for his supporters today. Only a four-year-old, the son of Authorized has plenty of room for improvement which has to be a good thing, but nine stone seven won’t be easy to shrug off and he may need to be pushed up in class where he would carry less weight of course.
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