Duke Of Clarence – Chester Cup
The first place to start when looking for the winner of the Betway Chester Cup is with anything owned by Marwan Koukash, as the good doctor’s ongoing love affair with the Roodee resulted in a 1-2 in the historic extended 2m 2f handicap 12 months ago and with five possibilities among the 27 horses still in the mix for the £120k contest there is every chance of another victory on Wednesday afternoon.
Suegioo beat Angel Gabrial by half a length last year and both are likely to lock horns once again along with the owner’s Gabrial’s Star who has finished runner-up on his two most recent starts on the all-weather for Richard Fahey. But it is the trainer’s duo of Duke Of Clarence and Gabrial’s King who make the most appeal at the 14-1 and 16-1 respectively with Betfair Sportsbook to come out best of the Koukash quintet, providing Fahey with a third Chester Cup victory in the process.
The former was seventh in last years race and followed up with two cracking efforts, particularly when runner up to Arab Spring at York just over a week later, and with that horse now rated 112 and a possible Group 1 performer (won Newbury Group 3 on latest start) that was a tremendous effort in receipt of just 1lb. The last time we saw the son of Verglas was when beaten a neck by De Rigueur on the last day of May last year, and with his handler claiming in a recent Racing Post trainer-file that the six-year-old was never quite right last season a big run can be expected for a race connections have had in mind for some time.
Gabrial’s King has some decent efforts on the course and although only ninth last year enjoys a big pull in the weights with the first two and following a pipe-opener at Ripon last month when not getting the best of runs in second place behind Trip To Paris, can turn the tables on that rival on 3lb better terms and with the assistance of jockey Franny Norton, who rides the Roodee so well, looks certain to improve upon last year’s performance.