Chester Races served up the customary excitement of its May meeting yesterday, with the low draw bias as pronounced as ever.
We were partly right in the Chester Cup, where 20/1 shot Magic Circle was overpriced from an outside draw, ran a blinder and made the frame on the more generous each way terms.
Today we invert that logic by looking at a horse overpriced with an inside draw.
The valuable 7f handicap (1500 BST), has a predictable shape to the race. The favourite is the tempting Via Egnatia for master trainer John Gosden. A front runner drawn in stall 1, with Frankie in the saddle, dropped into a first handicap, he has to have a great chance.
All that said, a mark of 99 is no giveaway, and he has been easily identified by the bookies. Still he is the one to beat.
With due respect to Mutawatheb and Areen Heart, who are both entitled to go close, we think the horse in stall 2 has been over-priced.
Masham Star is trained by Mark Johnston, who does well here, and is fighting fit after a busy campaign in Dubai. This handicap is a distinct drop in class and should give him a chance to compete.
On any other day, his form would probably just about merit an each way chance. However, the draw bias here is so pronounced, that if Franny Norton can bounce him out just behind the pacesetting Frankie in stall 1, the benefit of a dream run round the inner could elevate his chances to a solid each way and possible win chance.
The bookies don’t appear to have caught up with his prospects yet, so we will step in and snatch some value.
Recommendation: Masham Star (1500 Chester) 14/1 each way, Boylesports and others
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