Jardine glad to have Spencer as Nakeeta bids to defy top weight
188Bet Chester Cup Handicap | 2m2f140y | 4yo+ | ITV4/RUK
Iain Jardine has booked dual Chester Cup winning rider Jamie Spencer for last year's short-head second Nakeeta and is hoping the pair prove a match made in heaven.
It will be the first time Jardine has used Spencer, who inflicted last year's defeat on Nakeeta when riding the Nicky Henderson-trained No Heretic, and also won on Address Unknown three years earlier.
According to BHA figures Nakeeta, a confirmed hold-up performer, has improved 36lb since joining Jardine three years ago and he has a career-high mark to overcome, but his trainer is hopeful.
Jardine said: "We put a lot of thought into who should ride and we did think about using a claimer because of the weight, but I think he's a horse who wants a good man on his back.
"Jamie is a great hold-up jockey and he's won the race twice before. I'm sure they will gel well, and I'm hoping it will be a match made in heaven."
Seldom a race for high weights
The weight range is much narrower than it once was, but no horse has carried more than 9st 6lb to victory since 2001, when Rainbow High won for a second time under a record 9st 13lb.
No luck with draw
Owner Marwan Koukash sets his stall out for this meeting but the draw has been very unkind to him, with his 2014 winner Suegioo in 16, Duke Of Clarence in 15 and Angel Gabrial in 19.
Trainers to follow
Donald McCain, who saddles Good Tradition, has won this twice, as has Richard Fahey, who runs Suegioo and Angel Gabrial. Ian Williiams, who is represented by Duke Of Clarence, is another previous winner.
What they say
Iain Jardine, trainer of Nakeeta
He's 10lb higher than last year without having won another race, but I'm sure he improved and he was possibly unlucky at York and in the Leopardstown November Handicap. He's done a lot of work and we're happy he's in as good shape as last year, when he also went there fresh. He's better drawn and I'm sure he'll run well.
Richard Fahey, trainer of Suegioo and Angel Gabrial
Suegioo is a previous winner but it will be tough for him from stall 16, though not impossible. The handicapper has been a bit kinder to Angel Gabrial, who was second when Suegioo won, but the draw hasn't, as he's widest of all in 19.
Charlie Johnston, son of Mark Johnston, trainer of Watersmeet and Yorkidding
Watersmeet is well drawn and has been in great form on the all-weather, where he showed he gets these long trips and was second on finals day in the Marathon. He might have a bit more tactical speed than some, and he's a few pounds lower on turf, and with Franny Norton in the saddle he ticks a lot of boxes. Yorkidding ran a nice race on her comeback at Ripon and she's very consistent on quick ground. She's a big mare for Chester, but she's run well there before.
Andrew Balding, trainer of Montaly
I would have been pretty keen on his chances if they'd had more rain but he's fit and well and has a nice draw so hopefully he can still be competitive.
Ralph Beckett, trainer of Magic Circle
The draw is a shocker, and it will take something special from the jockey to win from there, but this has always been the target and he's been training well.
Sir Mark Prescott, trainer of Sea Of Heaven
Sea Of Heaven has a moderate draw in 14 I would imagine. David Allan rode a wonderful race on him there last time he ran to get so close, but I fear Mr [Luke] Morris will have his work cut out. It's a shame as the horse is in good shape at home.
Ian Williams, trainer of Duke Of Clarence
He's not well drawn and James Doyle will have a lot to do but we've had this race in mind since he came to us a short while ago.
Tony Martin, trainer of Golden Spear
He's been running over hurdles and ran quite well at Fairyhouse last time. He came out of the race well and we're happy with him for this return to the Flat.
David Simcock, trainer of The Cashel Man
He stays well and won't mind the ground so he has an each-way chance in an open race.
Roger Charlton, trainer of Blakeney Point
We've got lucky really, because we went up just enough for winning at Kempton to scrape in, and then we've been given stall 1, so it's all good so far. Blakeney Point has won around Chester, and he's got the early tactical speed to hold his position. He's in good form and is ridden by a very good claimer, so I'm hoping he'll run well.