With a long and impressive roll call of winners, the Betway Chester Cup has attracted a total of 48 initial entries for the 2015 renewal, including three of the first four across the line in 2014. In a typically exciting finish Suegioo, trained by Marco Botti, finished half a length in front of Angel Gabriel 12-months ago, despite being carried wide inside the final furlong. Placings were reversed six weeks later in the Northumberland Plate and indicates the two horses are closely matched.
The two horses are set to re-oppose again on the Roodee on Wednesday, May 6th, the opening day of the three-day Boodles May festival when the valuable staying handicap takes centre stage. Both horses are owned by avid Chester Racecourse supporter, Marwan Koukash who will be keen to add the 2015 Betway Chester Cup to his tally of successes on the historic racecourse. Koukash may also be represented by Gabrial’s Star, successful in a one and a half mile apprentice handicap at Chester last May. Also in the Koukash line-up is Duke of Clarence, he finished in seventh place in the 2014 renewal.
Venue provides the local interest as he is trained by Donald McCain. The five-year-old ran up a sequence of three wins on the flat in 2013 and he will not lack race fitness next month having had three outings over hurdles earlier this year, winning once and being placed second on the other two occasions. McCain knows what is required to win a Chester Cup, as he trained the popular front-running Overturn to win in 2011 and any runner from the yard will attract substantial support.
Top Irish trainers Dermot Weld and Willie Mullins are also considering a tilt at the race and add an extra dimension to the Betway Chester Cup. Zafayan, trained by Weld was successful at Leopardstown on his last outing and Simemon finished fourth in the Ascot Gold Cup, behind Leading Light in June 2014.
Richard Thomas, Chief Executive at Chester Racecourse said: “We are delighted with the profile of the entries for the 2015 Betway Chester Cup. They are an early indication of the quality of racing that we anticipate over the three day Boodles May Festival meeting.”