Hymn to call the tune in Huxley Stakes at Chester
David Metcalf | May 5, 2016
Western Hymn hot stuff in Huxley Stakes
Western Hymn can make the most of the weight he receives from Cannock Chase to provide trainer John Gosden with back-to-back successes in the Group 3 Huxley Stakes at Chester (14.40).
The Newmarket handler saddled Maverick Wave to land the spoils 12 months ago, and in Western Hymn has a classy sort who is a three-time winner in the grade.
After winning his first two starts last season in Group 3 contests at Sandown, Western Hymn ran a blinder when stepped up into Group 1 company and finishing third to Free Eagle in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The gelding only got outpaced inside the final furlong to be beaten 2 3/4 lengths, and finished 2 1/2 lengths in front of Cannock Chase who came home in seventh.
Far from disgraced in Coral-Eclipse
That form is extremely strong in the context of this contest, and Western Hymn was also far from disgraced on his final start of the campaign when third to brilliant stable companion Golden Horn in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.
Although turned over at odds-on on seasonal reappearance when runner-up in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown, the five-year-old looked in need of the run beforehand and raced keenly on rain softened ground before weakening close home to be beaten just over a length.
Western Hymn looks sure to come on a bundle for that outing, and with the drying ground massively in his favour this looks a golden opportunity for son of High Chaparral to get back to winning ways.
Cannock Chase commands plenty of respect
Cannock Chase twice finished behind Western Hymn last season, but still commands plenty of respect despite now having to give 7lb to that rival.
The Sir Michael Stoute trained colt finished a close second in this race last year, before going on to land a Listed contest at Newmarket and a Grade 1 at Woodbine in Canada.
However, the five-year-old disappointed when just 11th of 13 in the Hong Kong Vase back in December and is officially rated 1lb inferior to Western Hymn.
That gives Cannock Chase a tough task trying to give weight to the selection, and this also looks a much stronger race than last year’s.