Jamie Spencer gives Coral his thoughts on today at Chester
Chester’s a good test of horse and rider and its enjoyable riding there but you need a certain amount of luck and you need the right horses. Before I rode for Marwan Koukash I used to hate going up there as I’d often be riding 20/1 chances which would just get knocked over. I’d spend half the afternoon getting wiped out. But Marwan targets Chester in May, and all his horses are readied for the meeting which helps, so now I’m going there with reasonable chances each year and it’s great.
Today in the Cheshire Oaks (2.15pm) I ride a nice filly called Brown Diamond. She’s stepping up from a mile to almost a mile and a half so she has to prove she stays but she has a good draw and we’re hoping she’ll finish in the first three but it’s quite a tight race. Aidan O’Brien targets this meeting and his filly Terrific ran well last time at Navan and has the blinkers put back on again today and I think she’ll be hard to beat.
I ride Angel Gabrial for Marwan in the Chester Cup (2.45pm) and there are a couple of things in his favour. He has the pace to win over 10 furlongs which is good as round Chester you need a horse that travels well and can quicken. He also stayed two miles well last time on his first ever start over the trip and he won the race so his stamina looks assured too. He’s a hold up horse so he’ll need plenty of luck in running but I think he’s got a reasonable chance. He’s at the right end of the weights and Richard Fahey won the race last year for the owner with a horse that came from Ian Williams so maybe history will repeat itself. I think Ian Williams’ horse Body Language has a good chance too.
I don’t have a formal retainer with Marwan just an agreement to ride when I’m available and I’ve been riding for him for around five years now. I’ve had a lot of winners for him over the years and get on well with him. We understand each other. There are days when I frustrate him and vice versa but overall we’ve had so much luck together. He’s a lucky owner and he’s got a lot of horses in training so it works well for both of us. Over the last few years I’ve got around a 20% success rate on Marwan’s horses so we must be doing OK together. Richard Fahey’s a good trainer and his horses are always in good shape and they’re always fit so you can commit them early if that’s the way the race pans out. He’s got a lot of horses in training so he’s clearly doing very well.
In the 10 furlong maiden (3.50pm) my horse Rangi Chase has got a good chance. He’s had three runs and is stepping up to a mile and a quarter and having that previous experience can be crucial at times round this track. The main danger would be John Gosden’s Prince of Stars who was very eye-catching at Newmarket on his debut recently.
Masamah has a chance in the 5 furlong conditions stakes (4.25pm) but with him it’s all about the start. If he doesn’t start well you’re in trouble. The two horses drawn outside him Addictive Dream and Trinityelitedotcom are very, very fast so there’ll be no room for error at the stalls. If he can get a good start he’ll have a reasonable chance. I think Lucky Beggar trained by Charlie Hills will be the one to beat. He won well at Newbury and is drawn in one.
David Simcock has been aiming Captain Morley, my ride in the 5.00pm, at this meeting all along. When he won at Wolverhampton in January, before I even went out and rode him he said that hopefully we’d win and then go to Chester for the mile and a half race. So it’s been the long term plan and David Simcock doesn’t miss too much when he does that. It took a long time for the penny to drop in his first two races but in his last race when I gave him a couple of smacks he really stretched out and went through the winning post well so the step up in trip should suit. There aren’t too many dark horses in the race and my horse looks one of the least exposed.