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Hymn to call the tune in Huxley Stakes at Chester

| 05.05.2016
CORAL ENHANCED ACCAS

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.

CANNOCK CHASE with R Moore wins Godolphin Stakes at Newmarket 25-9-15.

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.

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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.

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Coral’s top tip: Western Hymn is a proven winner in the grade and, with race conditions massively in his favour, is going to be a tough nut to crack.

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Author

David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.