Chester: Favourite Bonfire ruled out of Dee Stakes due to testing goingPICTURE: Getty Images
Bonfire to miss Dee Stakes due to going
BONFIRE, the likely favourite for Friday afternoon's Group 3 Stobart Barristers Dee Stakes, will miss the Chester race due to the testing underfoot conditions.
Although just 1mm of rain fell on the course overnight, the going is described as soft, heavy in places after the track has been consistently hit by rain throughout the week.
The decision to take the leading Derby fancy out of the race was made after trainer Andrew Balding walked the track.
Owners Highclere tweeted: "Bonfire a non-runner due to appalling ground. A Balding walked the track this am & decided that it was simply too badto allow him to run..
"We will look now to the Dante next week. Such a shame as the horse is in great form but we can't risk him on such a bad surface."
With Bonfire out of the race, Astrology looks like being warm order to give Aidan O'Brien a third win in the race.
Soft ground is no concern to connections of last season's St Leger runner-up Brown Panther who is set to make his reappearance in the Group 3 Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes later on the card.
Owner Michael Owen tweeted: "Exciting few days ahead. Brown Panther returns to action at Chester today. Feeling nervous already!"
Officials at Chesterare hopeful that they will be able to use the stalls as normally on Friday. Clerk of the course Andrew Morris said: "The only race there is an issue about is the Dee Stakes. We want to give it every possibility of getting the stalls in so a decision won't be made to later."
While only 1mm of rain fell overnight at Chester, Hexham were nowhere near as lucky with the weather and officials were left with an easy decision to call off Saturday's meeting early on Friday morning due to waterlogging.