Posted: Wed 8th May 2024

Chester Racecourse May Festival: day two preview and tips as £140,000 Ormonde Stakes highlights second day of action

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales


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The second day of racing at Chester’s May Festival arrives on Thursday with another competitive seven-race card on offer for punters heading to the world’s oldest racecourse.

Racing gets underway at 1.30 on Thursday with a 12-runner handicap in class two before rounding off at 4.45, with the feature race of the day – the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes – on the bill at 3.40.

The Dee Stakes is another highlight of day two at Chester, with £56,000 up for grabs for the winner of Listed contest while a cool £78,000 is on offer to the winner of the Ormonde Stakes, where last year’s Huxley Stakes winner Point Lonsdale returns to Chester to aim for a second win at the track.

Up first is the class two handicap to get the card underway at 1.30 over the five furling sprint distance and is an incredibly competitive opener. Democracy Dilemma won over course and distance when last seen on British soil and is back after a creditable stint in the Middle East and is well in the frame here with jockey Tom Marquand on board. Michaela’s Boy was winless in 2023 but blew off the cobwebs with a Musselburgh run on April 21 and is off an incredibly enticing mark here to be a major player.

Race two (2.05) sees ten runners head to the stalls for the 6f maiden stakes in class two, with the field headed by Rashabar, a €120,000 purchase as a yearling, setting a decent standard having split two subsequent winners on racecourse debut at Newbury 20 days ago. Bretton Wood, a colt out of superstar sprinter Frankel, is one to note as well and is likely to improve for the step up in trip.

The third race on the card (2.35) is a very useful three-year-old handicap contest and Celtic Warrior can make the most of his favourable draw in stall two to be successful for the Andrew Balding team, who have a very strong record at Chester. Never So Brave arrives at the the track with some strong form, having finished second to subsequent Group 1 winners Vandeek and Ancient Wisdom on both starts as a two-year-old and was a fine winner at Thirsk on his first start this season – he has top jockey Ryan Moore on board at Chester and is a huge player.

The £100,000 Dee Stakes is the fourth race on Thursday’s card (3.05) and son of Dubawi, God’s Window for trainers John & Thady Gosden, is taken to get the victory having been a useful third in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes at Doncaster as a two-year-old. Powerhouse Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien sends Capulet to Chester, twice placed in Group 2 contests, to defend the trainer’s title in this race, having won it last year with San Antonio. Jayarebe, trained by Brian Meehan, improved markedly when landing a Newmarket Listed contest three weeks ago and is in contention as well.

Day two’s feature contest is the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes (3.40), with a £140,000 prize pot on offer. Point Lonsdale was a winner at this meeting last season and was last seen finishing midfield in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan so steps up in trip here and is very much of interest.

Another winner at last year’s May Festival was Arrest, who scored the Chester Vase in 2023 and was a fine second in the St Leger at Doncaster last season, with the Gosden runner clearly able to throw down a big challenge to the O’Brien trained Point Lonsdale in a very competitive renewal of the Ormonde this season.

Race six (4.10) is the penultimate contest of day two and Inspiritus looks the one to beat for trainer Roger Varian. The four-year-old doubled his win tally for the season at Lingfield on the all-weather surface when tanking through the race and there is nothing to suggest he can’t do the same on turf.

Finally, Thursday’s card comes to an end with the ten-runner class four handicap for three-year-old’s over the 1m4f distance (4.45) and preference here is for Arch Legend, who made a winning bow in handicaps at Windsor last month and backed that up at Wolverhampton under a penalty for trainer Charlie Johnston, who has won three of the last six runnings of this race.

Chester selections – Thursday (via horse racing odds)

1.30 – Democracy Dilemma

2.05 – Rashabar

2.35 – Celtic Warrior

3.05 – God’s Window

3.40 – Arrest

4.10 – Inspiritus

4.45 – Arch Legend

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