angel gabrial horse

The Chester Cup 2014 – Runners & Odds

The unique twists and turns of Chester racecourse await the 19 runners attempting to win the prestigious Chester Cup over a marathon 2m2f on Wednesday (2.45).

The Channel 4 cameras will be on hand for all three days of this superb meeting, but this handicap is the race punters most want to win as there are always some juicy odds on offer, including this time around where it is currently 6/1 the field.

Heading the lists is Ed Dunlop’s, Mubaraza (6/1), who was third in last year’s Northumberland at Newcastle (2m, good to soft), before returning this season with an excellent second at Ripon a few weeks ago when beaten only 1/4l by another of Wednesday’s rivals in Angel Gabrial (8/1).

The duo bumped each other near the line that day, but Mubaraza could have the edge this time as he is sure to strip fitter for that outing, has stall 5 and is 3lb better off with Angel Gabrial. He was also fourth in the Ascot Stakes last June (2m4f, good), so definitely stays the trip.

Dunlop also has White Nile, who hasn’t gone unbacked at 10/1, but he did flop when favourite last month and has been dealt a wide draw in stall 17.

Roger Varian’s, Perfect Heart (7/1) is another who hasn’t fared as well with the draw from 12, but has to be respected having won impressively at Doncaster a few weeks back (2m1f, soft). The ground will be faster here, however, while he picks up a 3lb penalty, which hasn’t traditionally proven a help in this race.

Of those drawn from the advantageous low numbers, Jonjo O’Neill has an interesting runner lurking at the bottom of the handicap in Masquerading (20/1) from stall 3, who ran on nicely over 2m at Kempton (Polytrack) last month and is unexposed.

Another from the All-Weather is Andrew Balding’s, Communicator (12/1) out of stall 2, a strong finisher in a valuable 2m event at Lingfield last month, and has plenty of turf form. The recent money for him suggests he could be each-way value.

Ryan Moore meanwhile, has been booked for Marco Botti’s, Suegioo (25/1) from stall 4, and he warmed up for this with a keeping on third at Ripon recently (1m4f, good to soft), but he is going into the unknown over this trip.

Not too far away in stall 6 is Ian Williams’, Body Language (12/1), who has not been seen since a 2l third in Listed company at Newmarket last September (2m, good). This 6yo was a 3l second prior to that in the Cesarewitch trial, again at HQ (2m2f, good), and he won’t be found wanting for stamina. Whether he’ll be ready after a 223-day absence remains to be seen.

Similar comments apply to Donald McCain’s, Mawaqeet (last ran 246 days ago) on 12/1, who was runner-up twice in a couple of 2m handicaps at York last summer and represents a yard that won two of the last three renewals of this race, while Richard Fahey’s, Duke Of Clarence (20/1) has stall 8, but has not seen the track for 205 days.

As for who could take the cup, then Mubaraza has a lot going form him as an in-form improver who is well drawn, has an experienced pilot around here in Paul Hanagan and gets in here from a 4lb lower handicap mark than in future.

But, with so many to choose from, here are the full trends covering that last 18 winners…

All 18 winners were 4-7yo’s.
17 raced at a Grade 1 venue last time. It’s worth noting those from the Queen’s Prize at Kempton or Newbury’s 2m handicap. Three of the last seven arrived via Aintree, while two ran in the Cesarewitch.
16 were British or Irish-bred – the two exceptions were French.
16 ran over 1m6f or further last time.
16 returned 16/1 or shorter.
15 won a Class 4 or better handicap over 1m6f or further – 11 over 2m.
15 were officially rated 85-99 – dual winners Rainbow High and Anak Pekan were the only winners in the 100’s. Penalty carriers have a poor record.