Race Time: 3.45pm Meeting: Chester
Distance: 5f 16 yards
Full Race Name: Boodles Diamond Handicap (Class Two)
As mentioned elsewhere it is imperative around Chester that we know the draw before we place any bets, especially over the minimum trip – and now that is a known quantity we can finally sort it all out!
At least one course and distance victory combined with decent enough recent form suggests we start with Blithe Spirit (5/1), Eric Alston’s four year old who is booked to be ridden by Jason Hart. A winner here three times now (from six attempts), he was a decent enough second on his return to action at Nottingham when badly in need of the run, and we just get the feeling that may have been to set him up for this afternoon where a huge run is expected.
Poor B Fifty Two (11/2) has to carry top weight for Charlie Hills who sends the six year old on the long journey North, hoping that he can get the son of Dark Angel back to something like his very best. Wins at Bath, Newmarket, and twice here prove he has plenty of ability (and loves the track), but his return to action ninth (last) at Lingfield was more than a little disappointing and he has plenty to prove in our opinion, and it may be that he needs art least one more run to put him straight, though he has been put down a couple of pounds which should help.
Piazon (9/1) is another who is out of sorts (or was last time out when eighth of nine at Epsom), but has plenty of ability at his best making him another who could win – or could just as likely finish stone cold last! The cut in the ground he seems to need to be seen at his best is arriving just in time, and he is racing off a handicap mark of 87 (and has won off a mark of 85), so he is not as far out of it as it seems – though that was him at his best which we haven’t really seen since last August so it will be interesting to see how he gets on here.
With plenty of rain forecast as mentioned we are obviously forced in to second guessing the going by race time, but if it goes to heavy (all things are possible), then Ballesteros (12/1) comes in to the mix. He races off a rating of 87 today but has won off of 99 on soft ground here, all be it three years ago, and although it is fairly safe to assume is going backwards at the age of six, if he gets his ground he may well be capable of pulling off a bit of an upset.
Come On Dave (6/1) is looking to punch above his weight a bit having never won outside of a Class Three, and was even running in claimers a mere year ago or less, but the six year old has won two out of his last three races on the all-weather and sneaks in here off bottom weight or so, and could well be a blot on the handicap granted a decent draw today.