Steve Hughes previews the final day of Chester’s big meeting including the highlight of the week.
Chester Cup day and as usual there will be a dash to gain a good early position to set up the race given how much of it is round around the turn. I have two selections for the contest, plus one from the opener. Headline selection Amomentofmadness was a winner yesterday (advised 4/1).
Chester 1.50: Gossiping
Although his recent form figures do not make promising reading, his comeback run at Newmarket showed more than enough to suggest Gary Moore’s charge is on the way back to form.
In great form both on the All Weather and fast ground turf, Gossiping won five times in the first half of 2017 having left Godolphin for Moore. Of most significance were his two wins at Goodwood which showed he could both win big field handicaps and act on an unconventional turning track. His mark was raised 31lbs as a result and he struggled later in the year as a result.
He is back today to within 2lbs of his last winning mark and although he was only ninth of fourteen at Newmarket last month, he made up good late ground there, something that is difficult to do at that track. He will prefer the drier conditions today and stall five can definitely be exploited.
Chester 3.35: Time to Study & Magic Circle
Not too much of a weight differential between top and bottom here so I think class will out (with the benefit of a single figure draw). I am taking two against the field.
Time to Study is already in good form and battle hardened this spring. He just failed to catch Brandon Castle at Musselburgh having given the leader a 20l head start turning for home. He was then far from disgraced when second in a falsely run Sagaro Stakes at Ascot last week. He has already run in a Cesarewitch as a 3yo and performed with credit, whilst not quite lasting the trip. He is a few months older and stronger now, whilst this turning track will reduce the emphasis on stamina slightly. He also has the considerable benefit of the master of Chester Franny Norton on board.
First choice though will be Magic Circle, an old hand in these marathon handicaps and who has been bought over the winter by Marwan Koukash specifically with this race in mind. He was a good fifth from an impossible draw in this last season and went on to land the valuable handicap his form deserved when winning at York’s Ebor meeting in August – he then went on to run well in the Ebor itself just three days later. Stall six is a positive.
1pt win – Gossiping – 1.50 Chester – 5/1 general
1pt win – Time To Study – 3.35 Chester – 15/2 Skybet, Paddy Power, BetVictor
1pt each-way – Magic Circle – 3.35 Chester – 6/1 general