The spotlight falls upon Chester on Wednesday for the first day of the May meeting and Racing Post tipster Graeme Rodway guides you through his three best bets.
Ziggy's Phoenix @ 3/1
The Caa Stellar Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes (1.30) provides an excellent opportunity for ZIGGY'S PHOENIX to follow up a recent Ripon win.
Chester sprints are usually won by a low-drawn horse with bundles of early pace, and the Richard Hannon-trained juvenile ticks both boxes.
The daughter of Kodiac was well on top at the finish at Ripon, having led or disputed from the start.
She still looked a little green on the second start of her career, and it’s likely there is plenty of improvement to come.
Connections will have been thrilled to see Ziggy's Phoenix allocated stall one, and she rates an excellent bet to get punters off to a flyer at the three-day meeting.
Locally based Hugo Palmer is always keen to have Chester winners, and it will be interesting to see what a mature market makes of newcomer Tierney, a 115,000gns purchase.
The booking of Oisin Murphy takes the eye, but his filly will need to be well above average to beat Ziggy’s Phoenix.
The eye is immediately drawn to Jer Batt following his highly impressive recent defeat of Winter Crown at Musselburgh.
Billy Loughnane’s mount escapes a penalty for that success, but it’s likely he’ll need to have many pounds in hand of the handicapper to follow up from the outside draw in stall 12.
Take him on at bigger odds with the Nigel Tinkler-trained SQUEALER, who signed off his juvenile campaign in Group 3 company, and may have a class edge over these rivals from stall one under Tom Marquand.
Nothing went right for Squealer when he was pitched into Newmarket’s Cornwallis Stakes last October.
He missed the break and encountered significant trouble-in-running when making progress over a furlong out. The fact he finished only three and three-quarter lengths behind the winner Rumstar gives encouragement to him being able to defy a mark of 93 first time out.
Squealer had made all on his previous outing at , and it would be no surprise if he pinged out and set the others a big task from the inside box.
Winter Crown was my original fancy for the fiercely-contested Camden Pale Handicap (3.45), but his chance appears to have been massively compromised by a wide draw in stall 14.
It’s very difficult to win from that sort of berth in big-field handicaps at Chester, so ROYAL DRESS receives preference.
The Ryan Moore-ridden three-year-old is infinitely better drawn in stall three, and showed an abundance of early speed when making all in a novice last month.
Officially rated 80 that day, the handicapper has left her mark unchanged, and she can take full advantage.
The Night Of Thunder filly is bred to stay further, so could be one to follow throughout the summer if she emerges with flying colours from this first test in handicap company.