Chester's May meeting and Lingfield trials offer plenty of crucial Classic clues
The week begins with anything but a quiet start courtesy of a huge card at the Curragh.
Aidan O’Brien has won the Group 2 Mooresbridge Stakes (2.35) in eight of the last ten years, including with Camelot and Magical, and has declared the classy Broome, who clashes with Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment.
One of last year’s stars was the Johnny Murtagh-trained Champers Elysees, who progressed from handicaps to become a Group 1 winner and makes her seasonal comeback in the Group 3 Athasi Stakes (3.10).
Some of the quickest early season two-year-olds are on show in the GAIN First Flier Stakes (2.00), including Coolmore’s Cadamosto, who was an easy winner of his maiden at Dundalk on his only start.
Fresh from their 2,000 Guineas success with Poetic Flare, Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning team up with three on the card, including Lunar Space in the Listed Tetrarch Stakes (4.20).
In Britain, there are Flat meetings at Bath, Beverley and Windsor while the new jumps season continues apace with fixtures at Kempton, Warwick and Down Royal.
There is no Flat turf action in Britain on Tuesday, but the day is book-ended by all-weather cards at Lingfield and Wolverhampton, with a seven-race card from Gowran Park in Ireland to help pique Flat fans’ interest.
After being one of the most high-profile casualties of racing’s shutdown last year, Chester’s three-day Boodles May festival returns with a top-class feast of action, where plenty of pointers should emerge for the Cazoo Derby and Oaks at Epsom next month.
The unbeaten Zeyaadah and the John and Thady Gosden-trained Darlectable You are among those in contention for the Listed Cheshire Oaks (2.15), and they will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of the magnificent Enable, who won this in 2017 on her way to Classic glory.
Several Derby hopefuls will bid for glory in the Group 3 Chester Vase (3.15), including Sandown Classic Trial runner-up Adayar and fellow Godolphin-owned colts Law Of The Sea and Wirko. Ballydoyle maestro Aidan O’Brien has won six of the last seven runnings of the Chester Vase and has four entries.
The day’s racing is concluded by evening fixtures from Kempton and Fontwell.
The action at Chester continues with the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes (3.15) the feature race of the day. Trueshan, who provided Hollie Doyle with the first leg of a Champions Day double at Ascot last year, stands out among the early entries as trainer Alan King plots a route towards the Ascot Gold Cup.
Derby hopefuls Wirko and Adayar also hold entries in the Listed Dee Stakes (2.15) at the four-day stage, as does Uncle Bryn for joint-trainers John and Thady Gosden. Circus Maximus struck here in 2019 before going on to land the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The summer jumps season continues at Huntingdon and Worcester, Tipperary hosts its own jumps card in Ireland and Chelmsford’s all-weather meeting rounds out the day.
Chester’s May festival comes to a conclusion with the £125,000 Chester Cup (2.45) the headline act on another stellar card. Almighwar heads the ante-post market for the Gosdens with 2019 runner-up Who Dares Wins, two-time course winner Future Investment and dual-purpose star Not So Sleepy also prominent.
The Group 2 Huxley Stakes (2.15) headlines an intriguing undercard with 2019 Hampton Court winner Sangarius engaged alongside Lingfield’s Easter Classic 1-2-3 Bangkok, Palavecino and Forest Of Dean. The progressive Ilaraab steps markedly up in company after completing a five-timer last October.
Stowell, whose contentious runner-up finish at Lingfield two weeks ago earned jockey Robert Havlin a 21-day ban, could look to break his maiden at Ascot (2.30) while there is further Flat action from Nottingham, Ripon and Cork, and a jumps fixture at Market Rasen.
There will be plenty more Classic clues at Lingfield with trials for the Derby and Oaks on a bumper Saturday which features eight meetings across Britain and Ireland.
The Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes at Naas (2.50) has been a showcase for some top-class fillies and mares in recent years, including Breeders' Cup Turf heroine Tarnawa in 2019.
There is more Listed action at Nottingham with the Kilvington Stakes (2.55) and Ascot courtesy of the Buckhounds Stakes (2.30), which Salouen won in 2019 before finishing third in the Coronation Cup.
Hexham and Warwick host seven-race jumps cards and Thirsk stages action on the Flat in the evening.
Another day, another Group race as Leopardstown's Amethyst Stakes (2.15) rounds out the week in style. Classic-winning trainer Dermot Weld has won this four times in the last ten years and could run Erzindjan, who holds early entries in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, Cazoo Derby and Irish Derby.
In Britain, there is a break from Flat racing with jump cards at Ludlow and Plumpton the offerings on a quiet afternoon.
Read more on Guineas weekend . . .
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