Chester May Festival – The Runners and Riders

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Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore

Chester’s May Festival is a sure sign that summer is almost here. The three-day meeting on the Roodee is one of the early season highlights of the Flat campaign and usually manages to provide some valuable Classic clues for next month’s Derby and Oaks at Epsom.

The action gets underway on Wednesday at Chester and, with runners and riders confirmed for the first two days of the meeting, we try and unlock some winners for punters.

Aidan O’Brien has won the Cheshire Oaks five times in the last 10 years so his contenders are very much to be respected and the Ballydoyle supremo fires three at Wednesday’s race.

Ryan Moore is booked to ride Magic Wand, a filly by Galileo that cost connections a cool €1,400,000 in the sales ring. She looks promising while the likes of Princess Yaiza and Shaherezada are also likeable contenders.

In this race I like the chances of 5/1 chance Kinaesthesia for trainer Ralph Beckett and Oisin Murphy. The daughter of Sea The Stars won at Nottingham on debut last year, form that has worked out well, and should be open to further progress now.

Elsewhere on day one, Spoof is given a chance to shine in the Boodles Diamond Handicap over five furlongs for Charles Hills.

He likes to be up on the pace and that is something that can be an asset at Chester. From stall three Callum Shepherd should be able to get him in a good position to make the most of his early pace and he could be hard to reel in at odds of 9/2.

On Thursday Danehill Kodiac will bid to give 1,000 Guineas-winning trainer Richard Hannon another timely boost in the Ormonde Stakes.

The five-year-old was a Group 3 winner last season at Ascot and found only Defoe too good on his reappearance at Newbury last month, with that form looking strong after Roger Varian’s charge scored impressively at Newmarket over the weekend.

Danehill Kodiac looks the value call in this one at early odds 15/2 with a confident Sean Levey on board.

In the Chester Cup on Friday it might be worth taking a chance on Who Dares Wins, fourth in last year’s race for trainer Alan King.

He’s run good races over hurdles recently at both Cheltenham and Aintree and has enjoyed a similar preparation to last year when he was less than two lengths down at the winning line.

Significantly his trainer has booked Ryan Moore for the ride this time and there is no-one better to get the 9/1 chance into contention for this prestigious prize on the final day at Chester.

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