Chester preview: Boodles Diamond Handicap (15.45)
Owner Dr Marwan Koukash loves nothing more than a winner at his local track Chester, and his Billy Slater looks weighted to take all the beating in the Boodles Diamond Handicap there today (15.45).
The Richard Fahey trained colt had just three starts a a juvenile last year, and caught the eye on the second of those at this venue when fourth to Baitha Alga over 6f.
Billy Slater lost a huge amount of ground when slowly into stride before staying on in tremendous style to be closing at the finish and go down by just 2 3/4 lengths.
The winner is a useful sort now rated 108, while the runner-up and third have both won since, and the fifth home Anonymous John has gone on to register three successes and is now rated 95.
That is strong form and makes Billy Slater’s opening handicap mark of 79 look very much on the lenient side.
Billy Slater also ran well on his final start at Haydock last season when third in a 7f contest, finishing just 2 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up Medrano who is now rated 101 and competes in the Group 3 Chester Vase on today’s card.
The son of Pastoral Pursuits looks to have been brought along solely with handicaps in mind, and with the Fahey yard in terrific form is going to be tough to beat off bottom-weight in the hands of Franny Norton who rides the track brilliantly.
Geordie George ran very well when runner-up on seasonal reappearance and looks the main danger to Billy Slater.
The John Quinn gelding stayed on well to go down by 3/4 of a length in a 6f handicap at Pontefract, and should appreciate the step up to today’s extended 7f judged on that effort.
Geordie George also had some smart for to his name as a juvenile, including when runner-up to subsequent Group 3 winner Aktabantay, and showed that he handles soft ground when bolting up by five lengths on his racecourse debut at Ripon.
However, the son of Kodiac has been raised 2lb since his last run and faces a tall order in having to concede 12lb to the unexposed Billy Slater.