Chester: Overturn will not be back to contest the Cup againPICTURE: Getty Images
Overturn missing but McCain has strong team
DONALD McCAIN is bidding for a third consecutive StanJames.com Chester Cup next Wednesday, but will do so without one of his stable stars Overturn, who was as short as 8-1 for the race.
Winner in 2011 then runner-up last year, Overturn was most recently seen finishing second to Special Tiara in the Grade 1 Maghull at Aintree on his last start. However there will be no trip to the May meeting for the versatile nine-year-old who is enjoying a rest.
McCain said: "He's fine. He was supposed to go at Sandown last week but was a little bit stiff the day before so we've decided to give him a nice long break. I don't suppose he's really had one apart from when he was sick after the Ebor [n 2010] so I think he's earnt it."
Despite Overturn's absence, McCain still has a strong potential hand, led by last year's winner Ile De Re, and the trainer said of the seven-year-old: "He's in good nick and been aimed at the race, I'm very happy with him."
Thimaar and Life And Soul could also run for McCain, while Hollow Tree and Aazif look unlikely to make the cut near the bottom of the weights.
Following Thursday's confirmation stage 39 runners are still engaged for the 2m2 1/2f marathon, with Countrywide Flame the 6-1 favourite. When the original entries were made the sponsor put last year's fifth, Harrison Cave in as 7-1 co-favourite, and although the five-year-old is now a general 12-1 shot, he is primed to make his debut for Chris Grant.
Formerly with Aidan O'Brien, Harrison's Cave is a different sort of runner for Grant, who is primarily a jumps trainer. "It's a buzz to have one in it, it'll be a bit different to being at Hexham on a windy January day," Grant said.
Although both of Harrison's Cave's wins have been achieved on slower ground, Grant feels he can handle quicker, as he added: "He's not a big heavy horse so I think he'll be okay on it. He's come along grand and I'm very happy with him."