Chester Cup Handicap Betting Tips & Preview – Friday 11th May 2018

Chester’s ever-excellent May meeting draws to a close this coming Friday, with the headline act being the Roodee’s most famous race. The Chester Cup may not be the best contest of the week when it comes to the class of performer on display, but is an event rich in tradition and annually tops the Chester pile when it comes to betting interest at this fixture.

As ever at Chester, the draw will likely play a major role. It’s not impossible for a high drawn performer to go well here, but it is that bit more difficult. The horse to finish fifth in the race 12 months ago may well have won but for his wide draw in our opinion, and handed a nice low starting stall this time around, we will be backing him to go four places better.

Top Tips

Magic Circle to win @ 6/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

2m2½f is the trip for this Class 2 Handicap contest which offers a total of £154,000 in prize money. The ground at the track is currently described as good.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good 2m2½f Class 2 £154,000 17 Runners 1/4 1-4

Recent Winners

No doubt about the best of the recent winners in the race. Ed Dunlop’s Trip To Paris followed up victory here in 2015 with a win in the same season’s Ascot Gold Cup. This hasn’t been a race which the market has found particularly easy to get right. The past decade has seen just the one winning favourite, with the past six winners all returning a double figure SP.

2017 Montaly 16/1 Andrew Balding Oisin Murphy
2016 No Heretic 11/1 Nicky Henderson Jamie Spencer
2015 Trip To Paris 10/1 Ed Dunlop Graham Lee
2014 Suegioo 10/1 Marco Botti Ryan Moore
2013 Address Unknown 12/1 Richard Fahey Jamie Spencer

Analysis: Chester Magic From Marwan Again

No Heretic won this as an eight year old in 2016, but overall the younger runners have had the advantage. Of the 30 top three finishers in the past 10 years, only seven were aged older than six.

Overall those lower down in the weights have also held the advantage, with seven of the past 10 winners carrying 9st or less to victory.

Look To The Stars For The Winner

It is the Philip Kirby runner, Star Gazer who currently heads the betting here, and it’s easy to see why the punters have latched onto his chances. Formerly with Sir Michael Stoute, the five year old has made an encouraging start to life at his new yard, first when finishing second to American Gigolo at Newcastle, and then being a demoted second at that track last time out. The main question marks concern the trip – which will be the longest he has tackled to date – and the track.

On the plus side he looked to stay 2m½f at Newcastle well enough, and this wouldn’t be as stiff a track. The son of Canford Cliffs did cope well with Goodwood’s turns, but as ever with Chester there’s no real telling how they will handle it until the day. Jockey Kevin Stott has an impressive 27% strike rate at the course though, so Stargazer couldn’t have a better man in the saddle.

Williams To Enter Winners Circle?

One who does boast track knowledge is the Ian Williams runner, Magic Circle. This son of Makfi just missed out on place money when fifth in this race last year, but did remarkably well to finish as close as he did having been drawn right out in stall 18. Missing the break and predictably having to forfeit ground when moving wide off the bend to challenge, to only be beaten just under three lengths was a fine effort.

He’s 3lbs higher than for last year but much better drawn. Provided he doesn’t miss the kick again he should be able to put himself in with every chance on his stable debut, following the switch from the yard of Ralph Beckett. The fact he was purchased by Dr Marwan Koukash ahead of this race can also be taken as a positive. Koukash targets his runners at this meeting more than any other.

Dubawi Delight For De Sousa?

Being drawn in stall 10 is undoubtedly at least a slight negative for the Karen McLintock runner Dubawi Fifty, but there’s otherwise a lot to like about the chances of this five year old. Wonderfully bred, being by Dubawi out of a Sadler’s Wells mare, he arrives here on the back of a rock solid all-weather campaign, winning two on the spin before being beaten just ½l in his most recent start.

This one’s most recent turf run came when fourth in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket. We wouldn’t be surprised were he just about the best handicapped in this line-up on the back of that run. Having come from a mile back that day though, the one concern would be that the race could get away from him around these twists and turns. However, should he grab a positive early position, there won’t be anything finishing better.

Final Verdict: Magic Circle To Win

Stargazer undoubtedly has the potential to go well but looks short enough at what will be his first start at the track, likewise Dubawi Fifty, who will find this a rather different proposition to Newmarket.

Dr Marwan Koukash is a good judge when it comes to what it takes to succeed around here, and looks to have made a shrewd purchase in last year’s fifth, Magic Circle. His better draw this year is more than enough to cancel out the distance he was beaten and he’s the one for us.

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