Pilot To Fly Home In Huxley Stakes
Thursday’s card at Chester features the Group 3 MBNA Chester Vase at 3.10, but the extended 1m 4f contest is unlikely to shed much light on the Epsom picture with the powerful stable of Aidan O’Brien relying on Hans Holbein – who can be backed at 66-1 with bet365 – for the world’s most famous Flat race next month.
With both Jack Hobbs and Elm Park expected to run in next week’s Dante Stakes at York, the ante-post market is unlikely to see a major shake-up until both of those horses – currently available at 6-1 and 8-1 respectively – have put their credentials on the line, although Sunday’s Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown may shed some light on the Ballydoyle pecking order.
The other Group 3 contest on the Roodee on Thursday is the Betfair Huxley Stakes at 2.40 and that can go the way of the Ralph Beckett-trained Air Pilot, who will love the ease in the ground and can outpoint the favourite Cannock Chase at the 4-1 available with most bookmakers – including bet365, Skybet and Betvictor.
The six-year-old son of Zamindar ran out one of the easiest winners of a handicap last season, when hacking up in the valuable Dubai Duty Free Handicap at Newbury last September on soft ground, for which the horse was put up a massive 18lb by the handicapper.
Stepping up to Group 3 level for his next start, Air Pilot was far from disgraced in failing to give 4lb to both Berkshire and Mutakayyef in Newmarket’s Darley Stakes going down by less than a length to the 2013 Royal Lodge winner.
Back to headquarters for his final start of the season, the mount of Graham Lee had little trouble reversing places with Mutakayyef, with the Godolphin runner Sudden Wonder splitting the pair in the Listed Agma Holdings James Seymour Stakes.
The under-rated Richard Kingscote takes the mount tomorrow and – under what look to be perfect conditions the pair – can get the better of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Cannock Chase, who should come on for an excellent seasonal reappearance at Sandown but may prefer livelier conditions – a remark which also applies to the Godolphin runner Windhoek.
1 Point Win Air Pilot 4-1 bet365