TURF TALK: O’Brien tipped to mop up again

TODAY’S (Wednesday) May Chester meeting is one of the highlights of the season in the northern racing calendar and there are often numerous pointers to both Epsom and Royal Ascot.

Certain stables tend to have performed well there in recent years, with the three day meeting often used as a target for Ballydoyle and Aidan O’ Brien. Locally based Manor House Stables also have plenty of runners and plenty of winners for the boss, Michael Owen. Owner Marvan Koukash is another Chester stalwart, if last year is any guide he’ll be seeking to have runners in every race.

The first race looks open, Manor House Stables sponsor the race and have five runners but there could be a dark horse in the form of THARAWAL LADY. The John Quinn trained filly made a good impression in a Beverley maiden, and the form has worked out very well already.

Aidan O’Brien won the Cheshire Oaks last year, and has a habit of mopping up races over here, and relies on BETTERBETTERBETTER to continue the streak. Out of a mare who won over a mile and a half, this stoutly bred daughter of Galileo looks to be on an upward curve.

The Chester Cup is a tricky, muddling sort of race, but last year’s winner OVERTURN could just kick on from the front and lead the way again. Making it a true test of stamina, this crack hurdler could expose any stamina weaknesses in some of the less stoutly bred challengers.

BLUE JACK ran a good race last time out when second behind the well backed Mirza at Newbury’s Craven meeting, on soft ground. He has all his best form on good going and the drying out ground should bring out more improvement. He is a course and distance winner, and connections have a strong record at the meeting.

SHANTARM has been an unlucky runner up on his two career starts and this smart son of Galileo can go one better in the 3.40. Owned and bred by Lady Bamford, he has shown great progress in two starts, and was unlucky to lose by a nose at Newmarket last month. The form has worked out exceptionally well, with the four subsequent runners posting 3-3-1-1. The yard’s second string that day Suraj later won at Doncaster by eight lengths. The Ballydoyle horse Father of Science looks to be the main rival, another impressively bred animal.

DINKUM DIAMOND was tipped up in this column last time out but never travelled and was seemingly not right for the day when finishing last of six in a conditions race last time out at Nottingham. Looking through his form he has run very well second time out in the season when returning from a break, winning a Conditions race in 2010 and third to Group One placed Elzaam in a Listed race last year. The better ground is also likely to suit.

THIRD HALF is an interesting runner for Manor House Stables in the last race, a mile and a half handicap, won by home connections last year with subsequent King Edward VII winner Brown Panther. Third Half is similarly bred, sired by Haafhd, and gelded over the winter after breaking his maiden tag. Second at Southwell, then winning over seven furlongs at Wolves, the step up in trip should suit his pedigree, and he could go off a big price which doesn’t take into account his potential for improvement.

Tips (all Chester

1.35 Tharawal Lady

2.05 Betterbetterbetter

2.35 Overturn

3.05 Blue Jack

3.40 Shantaram

4.15 Dinkum Diamond

4.50 Third Half