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Monday, 21 January, 2019

The lowdown: Johnston hope Titi Makfi bids to overcome poor draw

Titi Makfi: will need to overcome an unhelpful draw
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3.00 Chester
Boodles Diamond Handicap | Class 2 | 1m2½f | 4yo+ | ITV4/RUK

Titi Makfi is set to make a quick reappearance after being touched off when runner-up at Goodwood last weekend and, although she is unfavourably drawn in stall ten of the 12-runner field, connections are optimistic her all-round pace can ensure she overcomes the wide berth.

Jason Maguire, racing manager to owners Paul and Clare Rooney said: “We were delighted with her run at Goodwood last Saturday, but obviously a bit better draw on this occasion would have helped her cause a lot more.

3.00 Chester card and betting

“However, she likes to go forward and be up with the pace, so the thinking is that she has the speed to overcome the wide stall over the mile-and-a-quarter trip as it's probably not quite as important as it is over shorter distances at the course.”

He added of the Mark Johnston-trained filly: “She seems to handle most types of ground, as she showed when winning at the course on softish going last summer over the trip, so the twists and turns are not a problem as long as she is out smartly enough to get a nice position early in the race.”

Course and distance winning form is at a premium around the Roodee, and Not So Sleepy boasts just that, as well as the added bonus of a plum draw in stall two. He has also slipped a couple of pounds down the handicap and finds himself on the same mark as when last successful.

Hughie Morrison’s charge found nothing going right for him on his first outing for three months in the Lincoln at Doncaster, as he was marooned on the stands' side rail and forced to race alone before beating only one rival.

Improvement on that showing can be expected, but Morrison threw in a cautionary note when saying: “He's a law unto himself – when you fancy him he runs a bad race and vice versa. He could have done with more rain.”

Andrew Balding knows exactly what is required to land this prize as he was on the mark with Collaboration in 2016 and sent out Brorocco to chase home Khairaat 12 months ago. He relies on Pivoine this time around, who should benefit for his comeback effort at Newbury three weeks ago.

Four-year-olds have a good record in the race as that age group has landed the spoils on five occasions in the past ten years, so the Balding representative is nicely weighted at the foot of the handicap.

The trainer said: “He needed the run a bit at Newbury last month and should have come on for it. I'd like to think he'll run well as he has an all-important decent draw in stall three.”

What they say

Ian Williams, trainer of Restorer and Grand Inquisitor
Restorer makes his first start for us and is nicely handicapped on his best form. I'm not sure how he'll handle Chester but he's got a good draw. Grand Inquisitor is fit and well from the winter. He'll need to get away well from his draw but all being well he should run a good race.

Alan King, trainer of Cosmeapolitan
He was disappointing on the Tapeta at Newcastle on Good Friday, but he is a decent horse around this trip and put a line through that run and he’d be in the mix.

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She has the speed to overcome the wide stall over the mile-and-a-quarter trip as it's probably not quite as important as it is over shorter distances
E.W. Terms
Sky bet