ANYONE who regularly bets on horse racing will know what I mean when I use the expression ‘cliff’ horse.
That’s one runner you consistently follow through thick and thin, making allowances for every defeat along the way.
Well, one of my ‘cliff’ horses from last season lines up in the Listed Chester Stakes (2.10pm) tomorrow afternoon and I’m prepared to go in again.
I backed Sir Michael Stoute’s SHRAAOH when he was hampered at Royal Ascot last season and then again when he was beaten a short head by Dal Harraild at Glorious Goodwood.
I left the son of Sea The Stars alone when he ran well on his reappearance at Epsom and he then stepped up again to run a gallant third to Dylan Mouth in the Old Newton Cup.
Both times I let him run unbacked and watched him stay on really well, indicating that he is crying out for this slight step up in trip.
Connections opted to do just that at Goodwood last time, but he was all at sea on the soft ground and you can put a line through that run.
Conditions look perfect for him tomorrow, and with his stable in great form he can put up a real bold show at around 7/1.
His biggest danger could well be Mark Johnston’s Cape Coast who sneaks in at the foot of the weights with Chester specialist Franny Norton in the saddle.
He looks sure to make a bold bid from the front, which may well help my selection by ensuring they go a decent pace.
Who Dares Wins won at the track last summer, but may want a little further now.
The same can also be said of Graceland, who stayed on really well at Ascot last time and may not have the gears to repel Shraaoh.
It’s not easy finding winners elsewhere on a typically trappy looking Chester card where El Astronaute is bound to have plenty of supporters in the feature sprint (3.20pm).
John Quinn’s flying four-year-old boasts course form figures of 2121, as the tight track plays to his ‘catch me if you can’ running style.
He is 5lbs higher in the weights than when he was last on the Roodee and life will be a lot tougher drawn out in stall 10 of 11.
Jockey Jason Hart will have to blast out and track across the field to get to the rail without interfering with the field.
I’m pretty sure he will have the speed to do so, but he will use up plenty of energy with that manoeuvre and significantly this race is run over five furlongs and 110 yards.
That additional yardage won’t play to El Astronaute’s strengths and I fancy TAEXALI to wear him down late on.
Only a neck separated them at the line here in May and I can see John Shanahan’s runner reversing those placings with a 6lb pull at the weights.
He has slipped to his lowest mark for some time, and with his stable in good form he can go really close back on a sounder surface.
Interestingly, the blinkers that had been removed for both his last two starts are back on today and their application may trigger a return to form.
Shraaoh e/w 2.10pm Chester
Taexali e/w 3.20pm Chester