Chester 2-45, Chester Cup, 2m 21/2f handicap, class 2, £74.8k winner

Horse Value Price Early Price Result SP
Mamlook 11/2 9 bet WON 7/1f
Bernie The Bolt 11/2 9 13 9/1
Ajaan 7 12 16 11/1
Desert Sea 12 12 6 10/1
Majestic Concorde 15 9 4 14/1
Tastahil 18 25 2 22/1
Fiulin 22 25 14 22/1

25/1 bar

Red Cadeaux caught my eye but I think it was due to the name! K Fallon will ensure he runs well but stepping up in distance and possibly a going issue too (recent win on the all-weather.) Of course, I am going against the odds here but will stick with my initial assessment. He would not be value at the early 9/1 even if I did rejig his score.

My three favourites are Mamlook, Bernie the Bolt and Ajaan. Mamlook has positive comments from the trainer and decent form in staying Flat handicaps, class 2 races like today’s. He is lightly raced which is a plus. Drawn in stall 5 which would be good but that he doesn’t appear to race prominently, nevertheless, I have backed him as the value to win. He is also Adrian Massey’s top-rated.

I have Bernie the Bolt down as progressive, with a good trainer strike rate here and apparently bred for this distance. Another hold-up horse though which detracts from those virtues.

Ajaan was second in this last year though subsequently beaten by Mamlook. The RP had him as 11/1 at Corals but he was 12/1 when I got there – irritating as I had already backed Mamlook before noticing. Strictly speaking he should have been the value bet to win (7 val, 12 early) and i am now looking for reasons why he shouldn’t come first :-)

I will use these horses in some sort of forecast but that will be later.

Overall, Chester is not the best track to bet, a tight circle just a mile round with draw and luck in running counting for much. 9/1 is perhaps not a brilliant bet in that light.
Just a mention of Raincoat – I have him at 33/1 and see he has been backed from 50s into 40s at Ladbrokes. I still consider him to have nominal value only (i.e. without any actual form grounds to back him) but it’s interesting to see these outsiders backed, presumably on the exchanges and purely on the numbers. (11th at 25/1.)
I elevate jockey Richard Hughes to genius status! A beautiful ride; he got Mamlook out smartly to track the leader in second place, always against the rail and ready to strike about 2f out. Tastahil looked the danger and the finishing margin was closer than I would have liked but Mamlook prevailed by a head.

During the day, the bookies were going 9/1 each of 6 co-favourites with Mamlook emerging as clear favourite as the on course money came in.