Race Time: 3.30pm Meeting: Chester Distance: 7f 122yds
Full Race Name: SportingBet Handicap Class Two
First things first and now we know the draw we can now reach a final conclusion. Past winners cover a spectrum of ages from three up to eight, and at odds from 9/2 to 40/1 in the last ten years, while David Evans and Mark Brisbourne are the only trainers to have won the race more than once in that time scale – and neither even have an entry for 2015, so that’s not very helpful Early jockey bookings are rarely if ever accurate but they do imply a trainer has the race as part of a long term plan and James Unett has booked Robert Winston for the eight year old Marcret (12/1) who likes it here, having won three races from eleven attempts – plus one second and a third, so pretty good stats for each way speculators. Runner up to Sound Advice here last time out, it does look as if this contest is a “target” and if he gets a good draw he should run well at a big price – hopefully. Trainer Charlie Appleby has thrown in yet another curve ball by running Flash Fire (13/2) this afternoon, and the son of Shamardal obviously has chances based on bits and pieces of his best form. His six length Sandown victory saw him put up eleven pounds which has made life difficult ever since, but he went close at Newmarket last time out when beaten by Buckstay when possibly idling after he hit the front, though an extra three pounds is rubbing it in a bit and may be enough to stop him today.
Looking for an outsider we come to the Conor Dore trained Clockmaker (33/1) who is hardly unexposed at the age of nine, but may run a decent enough race with Hayley Turner riding. Keeping him at his best at this age will be a feat of training we agree but he has won off handicap marks up to four pounds higher (and only a couple of years ago), though he has had three wins here without any signs of success, though this seven furlongs is his trip and Hayley has ridden him to victory before which has to be a good thing for any punter. Wee Jean (16/1) has already had a good season for Mick Channon with a win here followed by one at Newmarket but naturally the daughter of Captain Gerrard has been put up in the weights from 85 to 94, which was enough to stop her at Lingfield (or was it the heavy ground), and we wonder if she has a few pounds too much still this afternoon? Lastly, how about Enlace (16/1) for Mark Johnston, a winner the time before last over this trip at Goodwood and with a heart the size of a lion? Only a three year old, she has already had 21 races and won five of them so she is clearly tough as teak, and if the chips are down inside the last, she is the one they may struggle to get past if she can get and keep her head in front.