It's the opening day of Chester's May meeting and our resident pundit has the best bets.
In-keeping with many of David Evans’ two-year-olds first time out, YOGI’S GIRL (best price 11-2) improved immeasurably on her second start and with that win at Windsor bound to have done wonders for her confidence, she can more than hold her own against today’s opposition. Trapped out wide from a poor draw on debut at Wolverhampton, the daughter of Harbour Watch was a totally different proposition 16 days later when, pinging the lids to race handy from the get-go, she made virtually all at the Berkshire venue for a gutsy success. Not only did she impress with her attitude under pressure that day, her winning time figure was a pretty useful one and with the fourth-placed Daddies Girl going on to boost the form at Salisbury next time out, there’s every reason to feel upbeat about her chances from her favourable low draw.
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YOGI’S GIRL - 1pt e/w @ 11/2Won 6.6pts
Aidan O’Brien totally dominated most of the pattern races at Newmarket over the weekend and ALLURINGLY (NAP)
(best price 6-4) is strongly fancied to keep the ball rolling for the Ballydoyle maestro with his first runner of the three-day Roodeye festival. Although she might not have been on the top of the pile of potential Classic fillies from the stable going into the winter off the back of two fairly low-key efforts, things have certainly altered following her impressive victory at Tipperary first-time out this season. Off the back of very strong fractions throughout, the beautifully-bred daughter of Fastnet Rock powered clear in the closing stages to make mincemeat of her main market rival Dabulena, and with the pair, in-turn, pulling miles clear of the rest, the form looks cast-iron. Given how strong she was in the latter stages of that contest, she looks for all the world like she will appreciate further and it would come as no surprise if some of the fancy prices for the Oaks pre-race are a distant memory come 2.30.
ALLURINGLY - 2pts @ 6/4Lost -2pts
Sometimes it pays not to be too cute in this game, so rather than look outside the box for an alternative, the safest policy is to go with bang-in-form EL ASTRONAUTE
(best price 4-1) from his favoured inside draw. Looking as though his early freshness was going to count against him in the latter stages of his first start of the season at Newmarket, John Quinn’s inmate impressed by the way he rallied to the call once headed to battle on for a game victory in a pretty wild finish. Sure to be all the better now the fizz has been taken out of him, the Approve gelding has the perfect platform next to the inside fence to utilise his forward-going run-style and providing he can bag the early advantage, he should be able to dictate matters at his own leisure.
EL ASTRONAUTE - 1pt e/w @ 4/1Won 2.4pts
It can only be trainer snobbery why JUKEBOX JIVE
(best price 25-1) should be chalked up as the 25-1 outsider here, because strictly on form, he has a much better chance than his odds imply. Showing bits of promise as a juvenile, he always looked, however, as though a proper test as a three-year-old would unlock his true potential, so it was nice to see him prove that theory correct on his first outing this season when tried over 1m 4f for the first time. Up against hot-pot Pealer who was backed as if defeat was out of the question (1-6), Anthony Honeyball’s charge showed all the qualities of his sire by powering to the sort of victory that suggested it was anything but a fluke. Indeed, the time figure he recorded that day backs up that view, and even though he faces stern competition here in the shape of Stradivarius and Al Zaman, who both come here off the back of impressive performances on the clock, he has enough qualities to ensure he’s in no way disgraced.
JUKEBOX JIVE - 0.5pts e/w @ 25/1Placed 2pts
5.15 Newton Abbot
LETS GO DUTCHESS (best price 7-1) looked in rude health when running out an easy winner over today’s course last time and even though she drops back significantly in trip, she has enough tactical speed to cope with the 2m journey. Always cantering at the West Country venue 25 days ago, the Helissio mare won with more in hand than the official margin suggested and given how well she travels through her races, a strong-run, big-field handicap should play right into her strengths.
LETS GO DUTCHESS - 1pt e/w @ 7/1Placed 0.75pts