The soft and almost heavy going has robbed racegoers of some interesting clashes at Chester, but it should have made life easier for punters as Aidan O’Brien duo Astrology and Memphis Tennessee can add first group class victories to their resumes.
There are two noteworthy non runners on day three of the Chester meeting, with previous odds-on favourite Bonfire withdrawn from the Dee Stakes, while last year’s St Leger third and Breeders’ Cup Turf runner up Sea Moon has been removed from the Ormonde Stakes.
This has dented the quality of the two group races, but the path has been opened for O’Brien to enjoy a lucrative big-race double.
Astrology will look to kick off the double in the Dee Stakes and is now the 6/5 favourite following the withdrawal of Bonfire, which was blamed on unsuitable ground, even though his only previous win was on a soft surface.
Prince Alzain has since also been taken out and Astrology is expected to appreciate the step up to 1m2f now a three-year-old.
The horse has a middle distance pedigree and a Derby entry, so is clearly well thought of by the yard.
In the Dee Stakes, despite Sea Moon’s exit, Michael Owen’s horse Brown Panther remains the odds-on favourite at 10/11.
However, Memphis Tennessee arguably has the better form in the book and so is taken to triumph at 11/10.
Memphis Tennessee finished within two lengths of Pour Moi in the Derby at Epsom in June and then lost by a similar margin in the Irish Derby.
The fact that he is a pace setter should be of added assistance at Chester, although Brown Panther does have the edge of having previously encountered soft ground, with Memphis Tennessee preparing for a first run on the surface.