Who Dares Wins has plenty in his favour in Chester Cup
ALAN King can strike a blow for the jumps division by saddling Who Dares Wins to victory in the 188Bet Chester Cup.
The five-year-old has been kept busy over hurdles during the winter, and even ended up finishing third in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.
But connections now go chasing the big bucks in the flagship race of the May meeting on the Roodee – and it looks a ploy that could have been executed to perfection.
Who Dares Wins should be pretty fit from the jumps and races at Chester off a nice weight.
He also has the assistance of Tom Marquand, who rarely lets anyone down.
The son of Jeremy was shrewdly campaigned by King last season, so much so that he only had three outings on the level – the most compelling of which came at this track in July.
Sent off a 6-1 chance for a strong handicap over a mile-and-a-half, the five-year-old gelding had the time of his life on the Roodee, skilfully handling the track's capricious streak to account for Against The Odds by five lengths.
There is a strong suspicion this has been the plan ever since that day last July, while the prospect of fast ground will hold terrors as he has twice won when the going has been good to firm.
Nicely drawn in stall seven, a big run is expected.
It seems folly to even contemplate opposing Aidan O'Brien at the moment, such was his overwhelming domination on Guineas weekend at Newmarket.
To that end, Alluringly ought to get the job done in the Group Three Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks.
One of five initial entries made by O'Brien, this Fastnet Rock filly did not show a great deal as a juvenile, but she certainly looked the part upon her return to the fray in a nine-furlong maiden at Tipperary in April.
Alluringly smashed up a fair field by nearly five lengths and upwards and finished off her race so sweetly that it is hard not to see her getting this longer trip.
O'Brien has also won this race for the last two years.
Majestic Hero is seemingly on the march and has enough about him to take the Boodles Diamond Handicap.
A wind operation during the winter has had a galvanising effect on this five-year-old gelding, who fairly hosed up in a five-furlong handicap at Epsom late last month.
The handicapper has since had his say, of course, but there are clearly more races to be won with the fast-ground-loving Majestic Hero, who is reunited with Jamie Spencer in stall seven.
Stradivarius chased home stablemate Cracksman at Newmarket last October, when it might be worth remembering that Frankie Dettori opted for the former over the big Derby hope.
He has since upheld the form with honour, winning at Newcastle and at Beverley, and could be good enough to overcome a sizeable hike in the weights in the Sporting Index Handicap.
Stradivarius tries a mile-and-a-half for the first time at Chester, but the fact he holds an entry in the Queen's Vase would suggest he is all about stamina.
Good money on offer in the mile-and-three-quarter conditions stakes at Chelmsford, with St Michel taken to do the business.
To finish third in a Doncaster Cup is good form by anyone's standards, and but he will need to some and more if Gold Cup dreams are to be realised.
Yet even accounting for a long lay-off and having to give weight to his rivals, St Michel must have every chance in a race of this nature.
BATH: 5.35 Fabric, 6.05 Captain Ryan, 6.35 Fair Cop, 7.05 Caledonia Laird, 7.35 Glens Wobbly, 8.05 Celestation, 8.35 The Big Lad.
CHELMSFORD: 5.55 Haldaw, 6.25 Highly Sprung, 6.55 Pepita, 7.25 That Is The Spirit, 7.55 St Michel, 8.25 Total Star, 8.55 Kasperenko.
DUNDALK: 5.45 Declarationofpeace, 6.15 Fasuba, 6.45 Rosenborg Rider, 7.15 Faradays Law, 7.45 Settle For Bay, 8.15 Usa, 8.45 Pirolo.
CHESTER: 1.50 Emilia James, 2.25 Alluringly, 3.00 Majestic Hero, 3.35 WHO DARES WINS (NAP), 4.05 Stradivarius, 4.35 Bristol Missile, 5.05 Gin In The Inn.
KELSO: 2.15 Donapollo, 2.45 Full Shift, 3.20 Pikarnia, 3.55 Mo Rouge, 4.25 Suprise Vendor, 4.55 Lotus Pond, 5.25 Bumbles Babe.
NEWTON ABBOT: 2.05 Brillare Momento, 2.35 Master Jake, 3.10 Amour De Nuit, 3.45 Ballybolley, 4.15 Dites Rien, 4.45 The Gipper, 5.15 Thundering Home.
DOUBLE: Who Dares Wins and Alluringly.