Glenard fancied to lift the Chester Cup
Trainer Barry Hills loved nothing more than saddling winners at Chester, and his son Charlie looks to have leading claims of landing the day’s feature race (2.45) with Glendale.
Hills senior won the Chester Cup four times before retiring in 2011 and handing over his license to Charlie.
In Glenard, the Lambourn handler has an unexposed stayer who looks the ideal type for the 2m 2f contest.
The gelding showed progressive form in handicaps last season before landing a competitive class 2 contest at Haydock over 1m 4f where he showed a game attitude to beat Renew by a short-head.
The third horse home that day, Salutation, has since won a valuable handicap at Kempton by six lengths off a mark of 87 while the runner-up has gone on to land a listed contest at Newmarket off an official rating of 100.
That gives the form a solid look, and Glenard then went on to finish a fine fourth of 14 to Excellent Result in a decent class 2 handicap at Ascot over 1m 4f where he kept on under pressure to be beaten just 1 1/4 lengths.
The son of Arch was then upped to 2m for the first time on his seasonal reappearance at Kempton, and put in an eye-catching effort to finish sixth of 10 to Catilo Del Diablo.
After being held-up well off the pace by Ryan Moore, Glenard made steady late headway under tender handling to be beaten just two lengths.
It looked an ideal prep run for today’s contest, and one which suggested Glenard’s current handicap mark of 92 was exploitable.
The four-year-old is now partnered by Franny Norton for the first time, and he rides the track as well as anybody.
There are plenty of dangers, and the two of the more interesting ones are Angel Gabrial and Mubaraza.
The pair met over 2m at Ripon last month, with Angel Gabrial coming out on top by a neck in a driving finish.
The Richard Fahey trained gelding showed a good attitude, and is owned by Dr Marwan Koukash who loves nothing more than getting winners at his favourite track.
However, the five-year-old now has to shoulder a 3lb rise for that success and will have to improve again if he is to confirm the placings with Mubarazza.
There is every chance that Angel Gabrial could do so, but Mubaraza was having his first run of the season and is entitled to come on for it.
The gelding had some smart for last season when finishing in the frame in several valuable staying handicaps, including when an excellent third in the Northumberland Plate off a mark of 92.
The five-year-old gets into this off just 2lb higher, and from a good draw in stall five looks sure to go close in the hands of in-form jockey Paul Hanagan.