Chester May Festival Day 2 | Dreaming of success

Irish 2000 Guineas

Action on the Roodee kicked off yesterday, though day 1 at the Chester May Festival ended with sadness after the awful incident involving Hidden Law after the line in the Chester Vase.

For many, as the Dubawi three-year-old kicked clear from Aidan O’Brien’s Agenda, we looked at his performance and gave him plenty of credit for the effort.

After all, he was very good at Newbury, it was just whether he could step up to a better grade and transform his form.

Well, he did, so it was incredibly sad what happened to him moments after the line, and all we can do is give our best wishes to those closely connected to the horse.

Just a quick line on yesterday’s results from the column; Al Shabab Storm returned place money at 7/1 (though he was unlucky not to win) and Cadogan Place finished fifth of sixth in the Chester Vase.


2:35 Chester – Witness Stand @ 18/1 with Boylesports – 1pt EW

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Kicking off the action in the third race of the day, Witness Stand can outrun his odds back at a course he knows well.

The three-year-old by Expert Eye won a maiden on debut at the course from stall six of seven before he went straight into Group 2 company for the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

He did the donkey work that day, but still ran with credit to finish sixth in a race won by Haatem (subsequently 3rd in the 2000 Guineas). Iberian, Mountain Bear, and Son also franked the form subsequently.

Having finished third on heavy ground behind Orne at Newmarket to finish the season, he blew off the cobwebs at Kempton when fifth to Notable Speech (subsequent 2000 Guineas winner) at the start of last month, something that will put him spot on for this.

Going from Group and top-class company to a Class 2 0-105 will benefit Witness Stand, so he has a good chance to put in a display here.


3:05 Chester – Bracken’s Laugh @ 3/1 with William Hill – 1pt Win

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Something about the performance of Bracken’s Laugh at Chelmsford in April caught my eye, and I’m hoping he continues that progress here at Chester.

The three-year-old by Zoffany has a strong pedigree behind him as he is from the family of Getaway and Guadalupe, a Group 1-winning mare.

As for his Chelmsford success, although Capulet probably needed the run and could outrun his odds on Thursday, he beat a race-fit Orne who was sporting first-time cheekpieces.

The top three in the market deserve plenty of respect, but Bracken’s Laugh gets the nod as his class has the ability to prevail.


4:10 Chester – Dream Harder @ 8/1 with SkyBet (5 places) – 1pt EW

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The form of the Ian Williams stable is moderate at the moment (13% strike rate over the last two weeks) which offers extra confidence behind Dream Harder’s chances in the penultimate race.

The five-year-old by Muhaarar is highly tried but he also knows how to win having found the winners’ enclosure five times in his last 16 runs since switching to Williams from Jamie Osborne.

One of those successes came at Chester off a mark of 85, just three pounds below his current rating, and his win that day looked easy at the line.

Since then, he finished fourth in a Windsor Racing League handicap, a race won by Spirit Dancer, who subsequently won the Bahrain International Trophy and Neom Turf Cup.

Furthermore, Tiffany (now rated 15lbs higher having won a Listed race in Hanover) and Tregony (a subsequent Listed winner now rated 15lbs higher) filled out the two places ahead of him, and Dream Harder had a troubled passage through the race that day. Even the fifth, Teumessias Fox, won a handicap on his next start.

As for this season, he finished a staying-on third behind Intinso – an eye-catcher on his latest start in a £100,000 Newmarket handicap – at Wolverhampton before bombing out at Kempton on his last start.

If you can forgive his last run, he looks to have a solid chance on paper and Jim Crowley gets the leg up.

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