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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Chelmsford all set for its big day with second-richest evening meeting

Chelmsford: stages £100,000 Chelmsford City Cup
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Five-time course and distance winner Lucymai heads a cracking field for Saturday's £100,000 Betfred Chelmsford City Cup (7.45), the most valuable race ever staged at Chelmsford and the centrepiece of the second most richly endowed evening meeting staged in Britain.

However, conditions for some of the supporting races will be reviewed after they attracted disappointingly small fields, with only five runners each in two £35,000 two-year-old races, and only four in a 5f novice worth £11,400.

Racing manager Fraser Garrity, who faced a similar problem with small fields on Thursday, said: "We like to put on a good breadth of races for horsemen and it's good that we are able to put on more niche races where they are wanted.

"We like having higher quality runners too, as that's good for our standing as a racecourse, and the percentage of races we put on in the class 1 to 4 bracket is certainly the highest of the all-weather tracks. 

Saturday's runners and riders

"However, while we are keen to help out horsemen and provide more quality, when you get to an elite level the pool of possible entrants is that much smaller, and if races like these are not getting the support that we want we will have to review them with the BHA in the normal way.

"Before every programme book the first thing you do is look at the performance of races over the last few years, and if the fields are consistently fours or fives it's obvious they aren't doing the job for us."

While small fields and the resultant reduced each-way terms will be a source of frustration to many, there can be no complaints about the feature event.

The useful Masham Star is among the declarations on Saturday
Garrity said: "It's going to be a belter of a race. Last year it was very competitive and this year maybe more so as virtually everything stood its ground and I think there were something like 15 eliminations, including unfortunately the Irish runner Master Speaker, who would have added a bit of an overseas theme.

"It's good to see some of our regulars running, including Lucymai, Carolinae, who has already won our second highest value race of the year, plus last year's winner and third, Masham Star and Mazzini, and two hat-trick seekers from top Newmarket yards in Cenotaph and Mankib."

"It's got all the ingredients for a cracking race."

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It's good to see some of our regulars running, including Lucymai, Carolinae, last year's winner and third, Masham Star and Massini. It looks a belter

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