Matt Chapman | Chester Cup betting tips
There may be some Classic clues at Chester this week, but for many the May meeting is all about the ‘Cup’, that staying contest where they seem to go round in circles over and over again.
Such is the nature of the Roodeye, many consider it a sharp circuit, but former trainer Barry Hills, who used to do so well at Chester, has always insisted it is actually a galloping track.
Whatever your view, one thing for sure is that Chester Cups are not won by weak stayers – it’s a proper stamina test. And they have been landed by some fabulous performers, like Brown Jack, Attivo and Sea Pigeon.
Justification does not have the experience
The latter was a fine hurdler, and jumps horses have done particularly well over the years including recently, with the last three victors all fit from a National Hunt campaign, namely Mamlook, Overturn and Ile de Re, so that is certainly an angle to consider. So is the draw – outside boxes can score, but low numbers on a tight left-handed circuit are always going to be favoured.
I’m not sure this year’s renewal is as tough as other recent runnings, and for me COUNTRYWIDE FLAME (7/2) just stands out. He’s fit from hurdling, is a proven staying winner round Chester and is drawn low. Simenon was rated 147 for his last jumps run whereas Countrywide Flame was 168! Yet on the Flat Countrywide Flame gets a stone and 1lb!
Of the big dangers, Simenon (11/1), Ile de Re (16/1) and Tominator (9/1) are all drawn out wide, while I’m not sure Justification (5/1) has the experience for a race like this, although of course he has to be respected as an unexposed horse trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by former Champion jockey Ryan Moore.
Countrywide Flame might actually improve
The draw has also mucked up Suraj (22/1), who is a horse liked by Michael Bell, and Olympiad (11/1) for the master of Rosewell, Dermot Weld.
Tactically, Countrywide Flame can go from the front or from behind, and if the rain comes he won’t be affected as well. Added to that, he’s a Triumph Hurdle winner so he might actually improve for this trip on the level.
Although I wish he had run a little better at Aintree last time, the more I think about it the more Countrywide Flame is going to run huge, and all I hope is that Paddy Power can hear me. Fingers crossed for a big, big run and nice return. Yeeehaaa!
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