Get on Jack, Quick, For the Chester Cup
One of the spring’s best Flat handicaps takes place at Chester on Wednesday in the Chester Cup over a marathon 2m2f (3.10) – a race in which those drawn low may just hold the edge.
Jack Drawn Well
There is no secret that a low draw on the inside of this tight circuit has been favoured down the years, which has seen punters swoop for Tony Martin’s, Quick Jack (6/1), allocated in stall 9.
This 6yo was last seen at Cheltenham in March finishing a 9l third in the County Hurdle (2m1f, soft), having signed off last term with a 3/4l third in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket (2m2f, good). Just 3lb higher here than at HQ, he has the right kind of big-race profile for this, and the booking of Richard Hughes looks significant.
Another key factor is his official rating off 97, as past winners had a similar mark…
Of the last 10 Chester Cup winners…
9 were 5-7yo’s
9 carried 8st11lb-9st6lb
8 were officially rated 93-99
8 had 4-10 handicap runs
8 won a Class 2 race
8 ran in a handicap last time
8 finished third or worse last time out
R Fahey won it twice
Koukash Fires Bullets
Also berthed well in stall 2 is Richard Fahey’s, Gabrial’s Star (8/1), whose owner, Dr Koukash, has made a habit of winning these big Flat handicaps in recent years. This 6yo was beaten 20l in the aforementioned Cesarewitch in October (good), but won at this meeting 12 months ago on soft ground, so any rain could suit.
Koukash also has Angel Gabrial (8/1) in stall 5 from top-weight, and he also has a good profile having won last summer’s Northumberland Plate at Newcsatle (2m, good to firm). The concern is his mark of 105, which is 9lb higher than at Newcastle, though he could still make the frame.
Weld To Raid The Pot?
However, the one for money in recent days, especially as he has been handed a very handy draw in stall 7 is Dermot Weld’s, Zafayan (8/1). This improving 4yo may be a touch young based on recent trends (the last 4yo winner was in 2009), but he recorded a career best in winning a 1m4f handicap last month and has hurdles form over 2m.
Ed Dunlop has a couple holding chances in Mubaraza (stall 12) and Trip To Paris (stall 11) – priced at 12/1 and 10/1 respectively, where marginal preference is for the latter, who won a valuable 2m handicap at Ripon only 11 days ago (Gabrials’ King was almost 4l back in second).
Brian Ellison’s, Buthelezi (stall 4) also won a valuable handicap last time out (1m6f, soft), and will handle Wednesday’s conditions. At 16/1, he looks each-way material, as does Andrew Balding’s, Mymatechris (stall 6), who has progressed on the all-weather this winter, including a valuable 2m event at Lingfield last month (2m, Polytrack), but has won on turf.
A wide open renewal, but there is plenty to like about Tony Martin’s, Quick Jack, who looks to have been laid out for this since a cracking third at Cheltenham in March. He has form in big-field handicaps and should be thereabouts.