7.25pm Chelmsford Tips & Betting Preview 02/03/2017

This is a fast-track qualifier for the All-Weather Marathon Final, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.

IN SUMMARY: An interesting race with a few strong contenders so it could pay to take a chance on PIQUE SOUS. He’s going to improve a lot for his seasonal reappearance and the step up in trip to 2 miles will see him to much better effect with Ryan Moore doing the steering. Connections are looking to get him qualified for the Marathon Final and a victory here would give them automatic entry so he has to be respected at a reasonable price. Winning Story is a very nice, progressive 4yo and he’ll be a tough nut to crack here with Calling Out the possible wildcard stepping up in trip.

1 CALLING OUT – Takes a big step up in trip here to race over 2 miles for the first time today. Closely tied in with Watersmeet having been defeated by 2 lengths off level-weights last time out and they both carry 9st 3lbs in this conditions event. David Simcock hasn’t been in the finest of form lately (1 winner from 19 runners) but his overall course record is an impressive 22% strike rate with a profit of £20.08 to level stakes. It has to be taken on trust that he fully stays the trip but he’s a classy sort and should pose a threat under Jamie Spencer.

2 PEARL CASTLE – Returns off a 9-month break today having been very well beaten in a Class 2 handicap in May of last year. He’s not managed to get his head in front since June 2014 and his overall profile leaves a little bit to be desired here. He did finish third in this race last year and clearly stays the trip although he has plenty to find at the weights with a few of these in this conditions event. It’s difficult to know what to expect from Karl Burke’s runner and the betting will be the best guide to his chances.

3 PIQUE SOUS – This is unsurprisingly Willie Mullins’ first runner at Chelmsford and he’s an interesting one at that. Aged 10, he’s the oldest horse in the field but he’s still got plenty of ability having competed at Royal Ascot and prime summer flat meetings for the last few years. He returned off a long break at Dundalk last time over 1m 4f and he’ll improve a lot off the back of that run combined with a big step up in trip and Ryan Moore is an obviously eye catching booking. He’s vulnerable to a couple of progressive types but will give his running here and could be a real threat back at 2 miles.

4 RETRIEVE – Vanished for just shy of two years having won a listed hurdle for John Ferguson in February 2015. He was bought for £12,000 in April 2016 but then sold on for as little as 800GNS in October which suggests he had a serious issue which would explain his long absence. That didn’t hold him back though and he won over 1m 1f at Wolverhampton last time out sent off the 6/4 favourite. He takes a significant step up in trip here which should suit but he’s obviously had issues and is probably best watched now stepped up into Class 2 company.

5 WATERSMEET – Mark Johnston’s Dansili gelding steps up to 2 miles for the first time in his 33-race career today but he’s shaped as if this will suit and he comes with some good form to his name. He’s won or placed on his last four starts since switching to the All-Weather and he was able to get the run of the race last time out to edge it from the re-opposing Calling Out. He should give another really good account here, rarely seeming to run a bad race and he may give Winning Story something to think about under the in-form Joe Fanning (27% strike, £12.20 profit last 14 days).

6 CALVINIST – Lightly-raced 4yo for Archie Watson making his second start for the stable here. He ran a creditable fifth at Wolverhampton over 2 miles on his last start and that confirmed he stayed the trip and there could be more to come now tried again over 2 miles. He’s got a little to find here at the weights with a couple of these even though he receives 4lbs from five of his rivals and may find this slightly too tough against some hardened 2 milers.

7 WINNING STORY – Arrives here on the back of a very good run where he beat the likes of First Mohican, Steve Rogers and Star Storm over this trip at Newcastle. That looks to be the smartest piece of recent form and he will be at the front of the betting here to notch up a double for the in-form Oisin Murphy (23% strike rate, £27.91 profit in the last 14 days). He’s still lightly raced and this is only his second start at the trip so he should improve again and he’s currently a 7/1 chance for the All-Weather Marathon Final at Lingfield, making him fourth favourite.

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