A glorious day opened the Boodles May Festival at Chester Races with 16,800 racegoers in attendance according to social media making it the best attended opening fixture since 2008. Rob Jeffries brings you a look over Thursday’s card.
Day Two’s highlight comes in the MBNA Chester Vase (3.10) where the 4-1 Epsom Derby contender US Army Ranger is the star turn. Having scored on his maiden run at the Curragh at the start of April, the odds-on favourite here, ridden by Ryan Moore, will be showing his credentials, and jockey will be hoping to repeat history as he did on previous 2013 Vase & Derby winner Ruler of the World.
The first race of the day is the Gateley PLC Original Legal Thinking Handicap (2.10). Sennockian Star is the only course and distance winner in the field, winning on his last Chester outing in June last year, but the battle could be between American Artist and Dark Red.
2014 Derby entrant Western Hymn with Frankie Dettori on board in the Betway Huxley Stakes (2.40) could be pushed pretty close if Cannock Chase finds form in the hands of Moore in this second race of the day.
The Boodles Diamond Handicap (3.45) over seven furlongs could be a great chance for local trainer Tom Dascombe and Manor House Stables, based in Malpas, to get off the mark with Arcanada. Beating the wide draw handed out will be key for jockey Silvestre De Sousa, but with an impressive win in Doncaster at the end of April, a good start from the stalls could make the difference.
There will again be opportunities in the following Betway EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes (4.20) for Dascombe, with Full Intentions and Four Dragons having both been unlucky coming close seconds on their first outings, however over five furlongs, their draws are not favourable but a surprise could be sprung.
Perfection Secrets Handicap (4.55) will be another chance for Dascombe with Richard Kingscote in the saddle of Reflektor, but will hampered by the 4lb penalty for winning last time out at Thirsk. Course specialist Franny Norton takes the ride on Kingsley Klarion which could be an interesting selection with the inside draw over six furlongs.
Finally, the T&L Leasing Handicap (5.25) could prove to cap a brilliant day for Dascombe’s team if Newera improves from a close defeat at Doncaster just two weeks ago, but Moonday Sun could be the shock of the day after a strong start on all weather this season – a win on turf could help punters recoup any losses on the day.