Timepiece to land trial before going on to bigger things

Bill Esdaile
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THERE is no better trainer of a filly than Henry Cecil. The master of Warren Place showed off his skills in preparing a member of the equine fairer sex for a Classic last week when only the Stewards stopped 66/1 Jacqueline Quest from landing the 1000 Guineas. However, his filly TIMEPIECE can ease the pain by landing the Oaks Trial at Lingfield tomorrow.

The daughter of Zamindar had a luckless journey in behind Rumoush at Newmarket last month over an inadequate trip. She was also reportedly in need of that outing and is expected to strip much fitter tomorrow. Timepiece was hugely progressive last season and I expect her to improve dramatically now she is stepped up an extra couple of furlongs.

She only faces five other rivals tomorrow and Ralph Beckett’s well-regarded Ceilidh House looks to be her biggest danger. Yet, she’ll have to be pretty smart if she is to trouble our selection on her seasonal reappearance. Timepiece can be backed at 7/1 for the Investec Oaks this morning and I expect that she’ll be nearer 4/1 if successful tomorrow.

Elsewhere at Lingfield and French raider REGGANE looks impossible to oppose in the opener. If she reappears in anywhere near the level of form that saw her chase home Ghanaati in last season’s Coronation Stakes at Ascot, she’ll win on the bridle.

The Totesport Victoria Cup is the feature over at Ascot and I am a big fan of the Luca Cumani trained MABAIT. The four-year-old is hugely progressive and landed his four-timer at Sandown recently with the minimum of fuss. This is obviously much tougher, but his draw in 16 means that Kieren Fallon has the choice of which group to race with. He can be backed each-way at 6/1 with William Hill and that still looks value to me.

Looking at today’s action and the rain that continues to fall may lead to plenty of non-runners at Chester. I like the look of BRAE HILL in the opener as he seems to have an awful lot going for him. Not only is he well drawn and from an in-form stable, he handles cut and has terrific course form.

Marcus Tregoning has his string in rude health and I am prepared to throw a few quid each-way at his RASMY in the Dee Stakes. He is forecast to start at around 16/1, but he should outrun his odds and will strip a lot fitter than he did at Newbury.

Finally, I give LUCKY NUMBERS a small chance in the 4.30pm from trap one. Ryan Moore is an eye-catching booking for a local trainer and he looks sure to trade short in-running on Betdaq – he looks classic back-to-lay material. His form with cut in the ground stacks up pretty well, but there is just a slight concern over the trip.

BRAE HILL Chester 1.45pm (today)
RASMY e/w Chester 2.15pm (today)
LUCKY NUMBERS e/w Chester 4.30pm (today)
REGGANE Lingfield 2.10pm (tomorrow)
TIMEPIECE Lingfield 2.40pm (tomorrow)
MABAIT 6/1 e/w Ascot 3.25pm (tomorrow)
TIMEPIECE 7/1 Investec Oaks