York Races: Chessman to be King

The always excellent York May meeting kicks off this afternoon at the historic Knavesmire course.

A busy afternoon kicks off with a competitive 10f handicap (1420 BST).  Godolphin have a superb record at this course, this meeting, and in the classy handicaps. It is surprising to see their runner here, Lovell, lurking near the foot of the weights.

He ran second in a decent Sandown handicap on his 3yo debut last Spring, but you would have needed his namesake’s telescope to find him when fancied at Royal Ascot afterwards.

Now that was his last racecourse visit – we have to assume something went wrong, and for a yard that can quickly offload those not destined for high honours, it must be a signal that they have kept him in training, and chosen to unleash him in a hot race like this.

Money for him is the final clue, and one well worth taking.

The sprint handicap that follows (1455) offers a chance to back a bang-in-form contender in Wentworth Falls. He is on a roll after wins at Doncaster and Redcar.  He hasn’t been overly punished for those wins, and his smooth travelling style should suit this track.

It is a very competitive race, but a sprinter on a roll can be very difficult for the handicapper and we will trust his good run to carry on for at least one more run.

The later 7f handicap (1635) looks competitive on numbers, but the John Gosden-trained Chessman is all the rage and looks set to go off a short priced favourite. As his stablemate Crowned Eagle proved for us on Tuesday, short odds is not necessarily bad value.

Chessman ran a blinder when a fast finishing second at Newbury on seasonal debut, when potentially a little unlucky to get pipped by one that got first run on the other side of the track. He is well berthed in stall 7, and has the services of the excellent William Buick.

This has all the hallmarks of a steering job, and Buick will be under instruction not to win by too far to preserve a workable rating for the Britannia at Royal Ascot….you heard it here first.

We’ll shoot for the stars by not just backing the three, but also wrapping them in an each way treble.


Lovell (1420 York), 6/1 generally available

Wentworth Falls (1455 York), 15/2 generally available

Chessman (1635 York) 9/4, available in places.

Lovell & Wentworth Falls & Chessman, each way treble.

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