Chester May Festival: Sky Sports Racing’s Alex Hammond shares her selections for the three-day meeting

Sky Sports Racing presenter Alex Hammond is heading up to Chester this week for the exciting three-day May Festival and fancies Frankie Dettori could be in a good meeting.

Murphy & Dettori can be star attractions once more

It feels like spring may finally be here given I’m about to pack to head to Chester for the Boodles May Festival which kicks off on Wednesday, all live on Sky Sports Racing.

We are in the middle of classics and classic trials with the Guineas done and dusted and Derby and Oaks trials now in the picture.

Chaldean was pretty good in the 2000 Guineas, with Frankie Dettori once again stealing the headlines, while Oisin Murphy is back in the picture, taking the 1000 Guineas on Mawj.

Murphy had a steady stream of decent rides on the Roodee this week, before heading to Lingfield on Derby and Oaks trial day on Saturday, while Frankie could bag one or two as well.

Tom Marquand sustained a nasty cut after being kicked on the arm on his way to post at Newmarket on Friday and remarkably is set to return with two rides on Wednesday.

He could well be celebrating after the second race – the Dead 100k Guaranteed Placepot Every Day Handicap (2.05) – as he wrinkles SQUEALER for Nigel Tinkler in the absence of regular rider Rowan Scott, who is suspended.

Squealer was last seen in the Cornwallis in October, and I hope he can make a winning start to his handicap career. He’s well drawn down on the inside and will hopefully be a bit of value.

Tea Cheshire Oaks (3.45) has been won by some wonderful girls over the years, including Enable in 2017, who went on to win the Oaks.

Frankie was on board that day and he gets the leg up on lucky brew for Ralph Beckett here. She may struggle to beat the Aidan O’Brien trained favorite savethelastdance, who is current ante-post favorite for the Oaks. Ryan Moore will equal the late, great, Pat Eddery’s record of six wins in this, if he can steer that filly home.

Tea Chester vase (3.15) is next, with five colts and geldings declared for the Group Three contest. This one may go to Frankie who gets trained on the John and Thady Gosden STOP who has already acquitted himself well at the highest level in France on his final two-year-old start.

Tinkler can score opening day double

Nigel Tinkler
Nigel Tinkler has some good chances on the opening day of the Chester May Festival

I actually think Nigel Tinkler can celebrate a first day double as he saddles LAKOTA BLUE in the Camden Pale Handicap (3.45). Faye McManoman gets on well with this horse, who should progress this season.

My final day one selection is PAWS FOR THOUGHT who has a good record round the Roodee. He goes in an uber competitive renewal of the Everyone’s Turf Handicap (4.55) and has a good record fresh, so it doesn’t worry me that we have not seen him yet this season.

On Thursday, the Dee Stakes (2.40) other Ormonde (3.15) are the two big breeds. The former has not produced a Derby winner since Kris Kin in 2003 and I’m not sure it will be providing us with Epsom clues this year.

Having said that there are some potentially smart horses in the line-up, including Local Dynasty, who has only been beaten once in his career and won a nice-looking listed race at Pontefract on his final start as a juvenile. There will be more to come from this son of Dubawi, who is trained by Charlie Appleby.

passenger won the Wood Ditton for Sir Michael Stoute, and he wouldn’t be running if connections didn’t feel there was more to come.

Aidan O’Brien has won the race nine times, incredibly that’s not the record number of wins for a trainer, as Barry Hills has won it 11 times! O’Brien runs San Antoniowho is currently a big price for Epsom.

The Ormonde looks like a cracker with a competitive field which includes last year’s winner hamish. William Haggas is operating at a slightly lower strike rate than usual and that puts me off a touch.

This one could go to O’Brien and Moore with last year’s Chester Vase winner CHANGINGOFTHEGUARDwho went on to win at Royal Ascot.

Changing of the guard leaves New London well behind in the Chester Vase
Changing of the guard leaves New London well behind in the Chester Vase

I’m hoping for a good run from NOBODY TOLD ME in the Halliwell Jones Handicap

(4.55). He appreciated the step up to this trip at Doncaster last time out but will need all the luck if he’s to be ridden with the same sort of restraint around Chester. sovereign spirit other cantora look to be his main dangers.

Declarations haven’t been made for Friday at the time of writing, but I’m really looking forward to seeing BOARDMAN run in the CAA Stellar Earl Grosvenor Handicap (1.30). He caught my eye at Haydock last time out, and he loves it at Chester. He’s one of my main fancies of the week.

Boardman ridden by David Allan (yellow) wins The Jigsaw Sports Branding Handicap at York
Boardman ridden by David Allan (yellow) wins The Jigsaw Sports Branding Handicap at York

The biggie on Friday is the Chester Cup (3.15) where the ante post favorite Novel Legend needs a few to come out to get a run when the final fields are established on Wednesday.

Falcon Eight won this two years ago for Dermot Weld and Frankie Dettori and he could run again with Ryan Moore up this time. He was rated 104 then and is 108 now.

If we get plenty of rain, then job would be one to keep on side for Harry Fry and Saffie Osborne. We’ll have to wait to see who runs and where they are drawn before making any final conclusions.

I’ll be there for Sky Sports Racing, and I can’t wait. Here’s to a few winners across the week.

Watch every race from the Boodles May Festival at Chester all live on Sky Sports Racing from Wednesday, May 10.