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86 Runners Declared for SportPesa Chester Cup Day

The final day of the Boodles May Festival sees the most famous race to be staged on the Roodee - The SportPesa Chester Cup. With 86 declarations at the 48-hour stage, all seven races are likely to be fascinating contests.

The opener on Friday is the Liverpool Gin Earl Grosvenor Handicap Stakes, run over seven and a half furlongs. Last year’s winner of the race Baraweez returns to try to retain his crown for trainer Brian Ellison. The nine-year-old also took another handicap at Chester at the end of May 2018, but has been disappointing on his runs since then. Another course and distance winner in the field is the Richard Hughes trained Another Batt, who after a stint in Dubai, looks to make a winning return to the Boodles May Festival.

Next up will be the Group 2 HomeServe Huxley Stakes. Forest Ranger will be another returning winner after taking the race last year. Included in his opposition will be the Mark Johnston trained Matterhorn. A somewhat all-weather specialist, who is seven from nine on artificial surfaces will look to continue his fine run of form switching to the turf. Addeybb is another interesting runner as a previous winner at Group 2 level last April. Trainer William Haggas teams up with Chester Vase winning jockey in 2018, James Doyle. Finishing the line up will be Success Days, Chief Ironside and the evergreen Gabrial.

The consistent Epaulement is the likely favourite for the Boodles Diamond Handicap for local trainer Tom Dascombe. Not outside the first four in his last eight runs, the gelding is sure to run his race and will be a welcome winner for the Manor House team. Out of the 11 runners, Ian Williams saddles two, both for Dr Marwan Koukash. Without a win since joining the stable of David O’Meara, Frankuus will be looking to build on the two winners achieved by his trainer on City Day.

The SportPesa Chester Cup, the highlight of the Boodles May Festival is certain to be a thrilling race. Last year’s winning trainer Ian Williams is set to saddle four in the race, whilst Irish Champion Jumps trainer Willie Mullins runs two including Low Sun who won the Cesarewitch when last seen in October. Austrian School is likely to jump off favourite for Mark Johnston and Joe Fanning, the colt has proven course form when winning a handicap at the May Festival last year. The last two winners of the race may reappear with Andrew Balding bringing 2017 winner Montaly and Ian Williams declaring last year’s winner Magic Circle (also declared to run in the Ormonde Stakes on Ladies Day). In a race of this nature, cases can be made for most of the runners, the reason why the race has become a true favourite amongst the punters.

Sprinting superstar Kachy will be hoping to retain his crown in the White Oak UK Conditions Stakes for Tom Dascombe and Richard Kingscote. A winner on his last three starts, including an electric performance in the All-Weather Sprint Championships at Lingfield last month. Dascombe will also run course and distance winner She Can Boogie, the Malpas based trainer looks to have an extremely strong hand in the race again this year.

Owner David Lowe will be hoping for a quick-fire double, as the colours of Kachy will also be worn by This Girl in the English Fine Cottons Apprentice Handicap. Another local trainer, Donald McCain will team up with his daughter Ella who takes the ride on Beach Break. The horse has been running over obstacles of recent and will be seeking his first success on the flat since 2017. Bahama Moon, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, has been also been running consistently over hurdles and looks to repeat the success at the track which he achieved back in September 2017.

The grand finale of the three-day festival is the SportPesa Chester Plate. In only its second year, the race was introduced as a consolation race for those who were not successful in getting a run in the Chester Cup. Ian Williams will throw six into the mix and will hope to round off his May Festival with victory. Coeur De Lion looks to go one better than his second place in the race last year for successful dual-purpose trainer Alan King. Number one Master Archer will jump out of stall one at 5:15pm on Friday and could cement himself as a Chester specialist after his only two wins last season came on the Roodee.