It’s the first major staying handicap of the flat season, and that means about 20 laps of the amazingly tight Chester circuit to determine the winner of the Chester Cup.
In reality, it is almost 3 laps, and but for a couple of short straights, they are constantly on the turn.
Chester is infamous for its draw bias and this bias is prevalent even in this race where they have over 2m2f to race.
Historically, any double figure draw is hard to defy – either horses have to push on hard from the off to get a prominent position burning up important reserves, settle for a wide position in midfield and end up running much further than horses on the inner, or drop right out and trust to luck in weaving through a 19 runner field.
Of course everyone knows this. As such it is no surprise to see Alan King’s Who Dares Wins (stall 7) at the head of the market after a good jumps campaign and with good course form. He is ideally berthed and must have a chance.
We are huge fans of The Cashel Man this season, although his running style, both tactically and physically may not be ideally suited to Chester’s turns, but from stall 8 he has to be included in the plans, and certainly watched with a view to future targets.
We think the draw bias, whilst real, is more than fairly priced in to the market. There could indeed be some value in opposing the bias if a wide drawn horse has form, ability and a running style that suits either fast-from-the-gate, or hold-up-and-weave.
Magic Circle could be that horse. He is desperately wide in stall 18, but he loves to drop in at the rear and pass horses. Fran Berry will need to pull off a conjuring trick, but we will hope for a strong pace to set the race up for conservatively ridden horses. A single figure draw would have been a single figure price. But 20/1 is decent compensation, with the added benefit that Skybet are at that price and pay 6 places each way rather than the standard 4.
Recommendation: Magic Circle (1535 Chester) 20/1, each way, Skybet
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