Manor House Stables preparations for the Boodles May Festival meeting at Chester Racecourse started at the staff Christmas party back in December 2015 when ex-footballer Michael Owen, who had the original vision for the spectacular training facilities located some ten-miles south of Chester said to trainer Tom Dascombe: “What horses are you going to run at Chester Racecourse in May?” Dascombe responded: “I haven’t thought about it yet,” to which Owen retorted: “It’s never too early, you should be thinking about next year’s Chester May meeting as soon as the festival is over!”
Dascombe is currently upbeat saying: “The horses are flying; it’s amazing and we’ve got here staff that really enjoy it, they work so hard, it’s brilliant! We’re going to have lots and lots of entries. At this stage, quite a few of the better horses would want cut in the ground, but there is usually soft in the going description at Chester at this time of the year.”
The stable, now sponsored by Ideal Recruitment, has an excellent record in the Stellar Group Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes for speedy juveniles, the opening race of the prestigious three-day festival meeting on Wednesday, May 4th. “Fiery Character will probably be our sole representative in the race this year. She won at 33/1 on her debut at Newmarket a couple of weeks ago, when she shouldn’t have gone off at that price. We’ve not done much with her since, she’s fit and well and knows her job. You wouldn’t want to rev her up too much, otherwise you’d have nothing left, she’s a little filly,” explained Dascombe.
Chester Racecourse stalwart Alan Bailey has always targeted Chester Racecourse, with considerable success over the years. His Lily Agnes entry Black Redstart finished well behind Fiery Character but should improve for the experience.
43 horses have progressed to the five-day stage of the Betway Chester Cup, including a formidable entry from Yorkshire-based trainer Richard Fahey as Marwan Koukash bids to land the historic staying handicap once again. “Unfortunately we’ve got nothing for the Chester Cup but we have several horses lined up for the conditions races and the handicaps that love racing round Chester, and that’s half the battle. Roudee, a course winner would prefer the ground to be soft, he’s won over six-furlongs and was second at Epsom last time out, one of the fastest five-furlong trips there is. His owners are mad for Chester.”
Top Irish trainer Aidan O-Brien has entered three fillies for the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks (for the Robert Sangster Menorial Cup) run over one mile and three furlongs. Two have already been successful this season – Seventh Heaven and Somehow and the third representative is Even Song. The O’Brien yard continues to send top calibre horses to Chester Racecourse for the Boodles May Festival as the meeting provides a preparatory outing for Epsom classic hopefuls in June. Roger Varian plans to send Nezwaah and bids to retain her unbeaten record after two successes on the all-weather earlier in the year.
Early plans for day-three of the Boodles May Festival include recent Thirsk winner Cymro, Dascombe said: “If the ground is soft or heavy Cymro will win the Ormonde Stakes!”