2021 Chester Day 1 Tips and Preview Dave Stevos
2021 Chester Day 1 Tips
It is such a terrible pity that Chester goes ahead with no crowds this year. I have gone to the meeting twice and if you have never been, I highly recommend it if you get the chance. It is a unique racetrack slap bang in the middle of the town with a brilliant atmosphere and plenty of top quality boozers in close proximity for after-racing refreshments. Of course, it is even more enjoyable if you manage to back a winner or two and hopefully we get off to a solid start on Wednesday. Check out my 2021 Chester Day 1 tips and preview for all live ITV4 races below.
1.45 Chester – Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes (Class 2)
With rain forecast and softening ground, the Lily Agnes looks even trickier than usual this year. There are seven runners including five previous winners, one previous runner up and an unraced son of Mehmas. Plenty of form to go on you’d think, but not one of the participants has encountered soft ground. So, it really is a guessing game as to who will cope best with the underfoot conditions.
The one who should handle the ground on breeding is Fair And Square for Ron Harris and James Doyle. He is by Kodiac, a sire that has produced plenty of horses that handle a bit of cut. He has three winning half-siblings, all of whom have placed on easy ground. At Chester an inside draw is a big advantage if your horse breaks well. However, it is more than possible to win from a wider starting berth once you are fast away from the gates.
This fella got a quick start on his sole run so far at Windsor where he chased home a Michael Bell hotpot. The two pulled well clear and Fair And Square would have finished closer only for showing signs of greenness in the closing stages. Going left handed should suit this horse and he has the early speed to get across from his draw in stall 6. He won’t lack for assistance from the saddle with James Doyle doing the steering and at odds of 18/1, he is the e/w pick.
2021 Chester Day 1 Tips: Fair And Square e/w @ 18/1 NB (3 places Paddys/Betfair/Betfred)
2.15 Chester – Cheshire Oaks (Listed)
A trip just short of 12f awaits a field of 7 fillies in the Cheshire Oaks. Dubai Fountain was an excellent 4th on soft ground at Newmarket last season in the G1 Fillies’ Mile. The daughter of Teofilo will be tough to beat if reproducing that form. Chester specialist Franny Norton takes the ride and her trainer Mark Johnston couldn’t be in much better form. From a nice draw in stall 3, Dubai Fountain should win this.
The form of Zeyaadah’s Listed Haydock win was boosted by Mystery Angel at the weekend. This daughter of Tamayuz is 3/3 with her wins coming on the all-weather, good ground and heavy ground. The ground at Chester shouldn’t pose any problems to her and it would be no surprise to see her run a big race.
Take A Chance On La Joconde
However, at the odds I think it may be worth taking a chance on La Joconde for Ballydoyle. Oisin Murphy rides this daughter of Frankel for Aidan O’Brien who remains winless after five starts. It was disappointing that she couldn’t get her head in front in a Leopardstown maiden last time. However, she was pretty keen and she should be a lot sharper with that outing under her belt.
This mare ran well on soft ground more than once last season. Some of her form has worked out well. She was only 2L behind Sense Of Style in a Listed heat at the Curragh. That filly ran a cracker in the 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown last month. This step up in trip looks almost certain to suit on pedigree, she is proven on the ground and at odds of 16/1, La Joconde is the each way pick.
2021 Chester Day 1 Tips: La Joconde e/w @ 16/1
2.45 Chester – Handicap (Class 2)
If he is ready to rock and roll on his return to action, First Company might be too good for his rivals in this 5f handicap. This horse didn’t show much on his first two starts. Some eyebrows were raised when he was entered into the Listed Harry Rosebery Stakes on his third outing at Ayr (5f gd/sft). Unsurprisingly, he was sent off at odds of 250/1 but he ran an absolutely huge race to grab 3rd. He was beat just 1.5L by subsequent Group 3 winner, Winter Power.
First Company was conceding 3lb to that filly so it really was a superb effort. He was further behind that rival next time in that Group 3 she won at Newmarket but again, he wasn’t disgraced in 5th. Declan Carroll’s charge now makes his handicap debut off a mark of 94 and on that Listed effort, that should be workable. This prominent racer has a grand draw in stall 2 and he possesses plenty of early speed. So, hopefully he can take advantage of his starting position. At odds of 10/1, First Company is the each way selection.
2021 Chester Day 1 Tips: First Company e/w @ 10/1
3.15 Chester – Chester Vase Stakes (Group 3)
The feature race on Day 1 at Chester is the Group 3 Chester Vase. Aidan O’Brien has unleashed some useful sorts in this race in the past. US Army Ranger in 2016, Ruler Of The World in 2013 and Derby runner up Treasure Beach in 2011. He landed it last season with Sir Dragonet (we were on) and he is represented by Sandhurst here. This son of Galileo was well beat in the Craven behind Master Of The Seas three weeks ago at Newmarket (8f gd/fm). He takes on that rival again today on very different ground.
Unlike the Godolphin horse, Sandhurst has form on easy ground. Law Of The Sea (and market leader Wirko) have yet to race on it and both their turf wins came on good/good to firm. Flying Visit, who Sandhurst beat when winning his maiden at Gowran (7f hvy) has since won and placed at Group 3 level.
It looks like decent form and I am willing to put a line through this fella’s last run at Newmarket on account of the fact it was his first run of the season on rattling quick ground. Back on an easier surface Sandhurst could be a different horse. Also, there is a good chance this trip will suit given his sire. At odds of 5/1, he is worth backing for the win.
2021 Chester Day 1 Tips: Sandhurst win @ 5/1
3.45 Chester – Handicap (Class 3)
The last live race of the day from Chester is a 6 furlong, class 3 handicap. I have tipped Water Of Leith the last twice but he has taken the piss in the preliminaries on both occasions. He had to be walked down to the start at Lingfield and he was similarly uncooperative last time at Thirsk. I have no doubt in my mind that he is capable of winning this. However, there is no way I can tip him up again given his previous pre-race antics. If he is on his best behaviour I’ll be having a little e/w on at very big odds.
He may be a bit shorter in the betting but at around 15/2 Pivoting could run a big race here. This son of Charming Son was well beat on his comeback run at Pontefract (6f gd/fm). However, he absolutely dotted up there on his final run of last season over the same distance on soft. Tim Easterby’s charge bounced out and made all that day. He is well positioned to repeat the trick today in stall 3.
His owner Ambrose Turnbull has enjoyed success previously at Chester. He has had 23 runners with 3 winners and 8 top 4 finishes. On that Catterick form a mark of 77 looks more than fair given that the runner up from that race has since gone on to win twice in France. Tim Easterby’s horses are in fine form and at odds of 15/2, Pivoting is the e/w NAP of the day.