Boodles Chester Cup Day delivers thrilling finishes and a flying dismount on day one of the May Festival
Always a social occasion, Chester Racecourse is delivering wall to wall exciting racing at the Boodles May Festival meeting this week and featured the historic 188Bet Chester Cup, won by 16/1 chance Montaly, on day one. The runners were closely bunched on the final circuit with top weight Nakeeta and Angel Gabrial heading the field. Oisin Murphy brought his mount through the leading horses to snatch the race on the line to score by a neck from Yorkidding.
“He had a good draw today and I kept it smooth, I had pace horses around me. He was straightforward. This was good race planning, he was racing off a career high mark. I didn’t want to go too soon so I wasn’t confident,” said Murphy.
Action began with speedy juveniles in the Stellar Group Lily Agnes Conditional Stakes. Jockey John Egan was smartly away with Yogi’s Girl and despite a challenge from Black Orange she held on to win by a nose. Winning trainer Dave Evans said: “It was brilliant; I thought we’d got headed. She’s always been quick and I was gutted when she was beaten at Wolverhampton. She got the draw and John is great round here.”
Enabled earned herself a ticket to Epsom for the Oaks next month when landing the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks by one and three-quarter lengths from Allurlingly. The crowd were treated to a flying dismount from jockey Frankie Dettori. “She corned well because she’s a lengthy filly, it’s an educational race coming here. All being well she’ll head to Epsom, she has the profile to stay a mile and a half,” explained Teddy Grimthorpe, representing the winning connections.
The Boodles Diamond Handicap provided El Astronaute, the 2/1 favourite, with a win. Jason Hart used stall one to his advantage and led from the start. Taexali challenged in the closing stages but was a length in arrears crossing the line. “He’s very fast and got bags of toe; he’ll keep going. I knew he’d win when I gave him a final kick,” said the winning jockey.
Never Surrender lived up to his name and was returned the 2/1 favourite in the Deepbridge Capital Maiden Stakes. Winning jockey Jamie Spencer said: “He’s been a work in progress, he was losing concentration a bit and backing off until I got stuck into him, he was always waiting in front and then picked up when the others came to him. This is his first race on really fast ground and that helped him.”
Russian Soul was the final winner of the day in the Adaris Global Foreign Exchange Handicap, beating GinIn The Inn in a photo finish.
General Manager Andrew Morris reports that the inside rail from the six-furlong marker to the one and a half furlong point will be moved out by three yards. He said: “Everyone has been happy with the ground today. I’ll check the updated forecast and may water with 2mm to replace the moisture that has been lost today.”