Silvestre De Sousa Blog | 9th May 2018

Opening day of the Chester May meeting and it looks like I won’t be there sadly as I have riding commitments in France. The ITV cameras will be there, though, and I’ll definitely be there on Thursday and Friday for the 188BET Chester Cup. It’s a fantastic meeting and one I love riding at.

It’s such a unique course and the knowledgeable fans get as close to you there as they do at any track around the world. It sometimes feels like they are riding the horse with you! An awful lot is said and written about the draw at Chester and I cannot emphasise how important it really is.

I genuinely believe in the sprint races that a decent low draw is the equivalent of about 5lbs in weight. I really do mean that. Anyway, even though I won’t be there, here are my thoughts on the four televised races…

1.50pm Chester (Lily Agnes Stakes)

The traditional opening race of the meeting and one that is often targeted by local trainer Tom Dascombe. He saddles four in the contest with stable jockey Richard Kingscote seemingly choosing Dark Thunder. He’s got an okay draw and will undoubtedly step up from his debut run at Windsor last month.

Mick Channon has his team in great form and Kinks is respected as he goes for the hat-trick, but has a difficult draw to overcome. Mark Johnston’s filly No Lippy looked smart at Doncaster first time, is another drawn well and may be the one to test the Dascombe team the most.

2.25pm Chester (Cheshire Oaks)

A wide-open looking renewal of the Cheshire Oaks which was, of course, won 12 months ago by Enable before she went on to win the Epsom equivalent, not to mention the King George and Arc too! I’m not sure we will see a filly quite as good as her in the line-up today, but John Gosden and Frankie Dettori will try again with Award Winning.

She won well at Wetherby last time, but this is a big step up and she faces some smart fillies here. Aidan O’Brien has won this twice in the last three years and fires three bullets. Ryan Moore has chosen Magic Wand who is yet to win a race, but it’s significant that he has chosen her. Keep an eye out for Ralph Beckett’s Kinaesthesia, though, she won her maiden last year and could be smart.

3.00pm Chester

Another trappy looking Chester sprint handicap where that low draw is again all important. It wouldn’t be Chester without a Dr Marwan Koukash-owned winner and he has an excellent opportunity with Showmethedough, who breaks from trap four. His biggest threat could be Tom Dascombe’s Formidable Kitt who may well be fairly treated off a mark of 85 here.

3.35pm Chester (Cheshire Vase)

Aidan O’Brien again saddles three runners with Ryan Moore opting to ride Hunting Horn. He has  had the benefit of two runs this season, so won’t lack for fitness. He wasn’t beaten far in the Classic Trial at Sandown and this step up in trip looks a good move.

If the ground doesn’t dry out too much, then Dee Ex Bee has a chance with the extra distance definitely what he wants. His best form has certainly been with juice in the ground, though. With Charlie Appleby’s team in such good form, it could well be his Ispolini that is the one they all have to beat. He finished in front of Hunting Horn at Sandown last time and there is every chance he will again.