Countrywide Flame the one to watch on Chester Cup day

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The Chester Cup meeting is the next big get together in the Flat season and the opening day not only contains the headline race, but also the Cheshire Oaks, which could offer some clues for the second female Classic later in the season.

Most eyes will be on Countrywide Flame in the main race over 2m2f, as he bids to become a star dual-purpose horse having run with credit at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

13:45 Chester – Sleepy Joe @ 11/2

The draw could prove especially pivotal in this 5f sprint, with a low position looking vital.

M’Selle has got the best of it in stall one to grab the inside rail, but he has not shown the form on his last two starts to win this.

Preference is for Sleepy Joe, who can work his way across from the middle of the track and is open to improvement after a victory on debut at Leicester.

14:15 Chester – Keeping @ 11/2

Many of these fillies showed promise last season and Reyaadah brings the best form to the table having finished behind the likes of Certify, Hot Snap and 1,000 Guineas winner Sky Lantern.

However, preference is for Keeping who won well at Dundalk last time and the third from that race from the yard of Aidan O’Brien has come out and triumphed easily since.

14:45 Chester- Countrywide Flame @ 7/2

A little shorter than ideal in the Chester Cup betting, but it is hard to find a fault with this season’s Champion Hurdle third apart from possible burnout.

The last three winners have come from National Hunt trainers, Countrywide Flame is a course winner, has a low draw, prefers to be ridden up with the pace and has a fairly low weight.

With the first four being paid each-way though and the favourite a short price in such a field, there is some bigger prices to be taken advantage of to finish among the places.

Theology may be the one to take at 16/1 given that he is extremely well-in based on form of two seasons ago when competing off 108 in group company and he should come on for an eye-catching run on the all-weather last time.

15:15 Chester – Fitz Flyer @ 25/1

Gatepost has won both of his career starts over 5f and has slipped back down to an enticing handicap mark of 90 after failing to finish in the first three on his last six starts.

However, for this reason he may be best opposed at what looks a relatively short 5/1.

Fitz Flyer has disappointed on his last two starts, but is another that has seen his official rating reduce as a result and has placed on two of his last three starts over 5f.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.