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Chester Preview: Spirit fancied to sprint to success

Eric Alston trained runners at Chester always command the utmost respect, and his Blithe Spirit looks to hold major claims of landing the 5f handicap there today (3.25).

The filly was successful three times last season, including twice at this track.

The first of those successes came over this afternoon’s 5f trip, where Blithe Spirit made all and clung on to beat Bushcraft by a nose.

The daughter of Byron went on to again show blistering early pace to make all over 6f here on her final start last season, and shaped with plenty of promise on her recent return to action when runner-up to Mecca’s Angel at Thirsk.

Although no match for the runway winner, Blithe Spirit led until being headed a furliong from home and the form has a strong look to it.

Mecca’s Angel has gone gone on to land a conditions contest by eight lengths and is now rated 105, and the fourth home The Hooded Claw scored in good style here yesterday.

That suggests that Blithe Spirit should be very competitive off a mark of 89, and she is going to be tough to peg back if allowed to dominate on a track which clearly suits.

In the 1m handicap which gets proceedings underway (1.45), Pacific Heights looks decent each-way value in a wide open contest.

Like many horses, the gelding improved significantly last season after joining the shrewd Brian Ellison yard.

The son Galileo won three times, with the last of those successes coming on soft ground over a mile at Carlisle off a mark of 89.

Pacific Heights then posted a really solid effort to finish 13th of 31 to Educate in the 1m 1f Camridgeshire at Newmarket, where he was beaten 7 3/4 lengths off 93.

That looks strong form, and off just 2lb higher the five-year-old looks capable of running a huge race under his optimum conditions.

Yorkshire trainer Tim Easterby landed a bit of a touch with The Hooded Claw here yesterday, and his veteran Grissom looks weighted to go well in the 7f handicap (3.50).

The gelding last scored in the mud at Hamilton in June 2012 off a mark of 90, when coming from off the pace to readily beat Roker Park by a cosy 3/4 of a length.

The eight-year-old now gets into this off just 85, having shaped with plenty of promise in two run this season.

That gives Grissom a big chance from a handicapping perspective, and his proven form on soft ground is a massive plus.

The son of Desert Prince is also best when coming from off the pace in a strongly run race, and that scenario looks assured with the likes of the trailblazing Dr Red Eye and Verse Of Love in the line-up.