Fancy ManThe Boodles May Festival is the biggest in Chester’s racing calendar. Spread over three days from Wednesday-Friday, day 1 is headlined by the Chester Vase – a Group 3 which acts as a trial for the Epsom Derby. Our expert tipster has taken a close look into the Chester Vase, and the remaining races on day 1 of the Boodles May Festival, identifying four selections. All of these can be backed via our exclusive Betbull offer – which provides £40 in free bets when you bet £20.


DARLECTABLE YOU (2.15 Chester, 7/2)

Chester’s 2021 May Festival begins with the Lily Agnes, yet it is the following Cheshire Oaks that provides the first betting proposition in the form of John & Thady Gosden’s DARLECTABE YOU.

This filly has a quite unbelievable pedigree, being a sister to Group winners Too Darn Hot, So Mi Dar and Lah Ti Dar. She has been seen on the track just twice so far, finishing second on both occasions – coming agonisingly close to making all at Newbury last time out. That Newbury maiden has been used as a springboard by the likes of Dancing Rain, Star Catcher, and Darlectable You’s very own sister Lah Ti Dar down the years.

That neck Newbury defeat came in a time over three seconds quicker than the race’s second division, and almost a second quicker than a conditions race run on the same card – which would suggest that it was an above-average maiden.

John Gosden sent out Enable (who had also been beaten at Newbury on her start prior), to land this contest in 2017, and subsequent Group 1 winner Fanny Logan represented the yard in 2020 alongside the race winner Mehdaayih – which would indicate that he usually targets one of his best fillies at this race. With that in mind, the 7/2 currently available on Darlectable You looks a fair price.

Nicest looks the stronger of the Coolmore pair and may give the selection most to think about.


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SHOWALONG (2.45 Chester, 5/2)

This looks like an ideal opportunity for SHOWALONG, who did well to finish as close as he did at Thirsk last month (4th) on ground that would have proven much quicker than ideal. That race was run just 0.07 seconds over the track record, and it was a surprise to subsequently see Showalong dropped a pound by the handicapper.

With these conditions likely to prove far more suitable for Showalong, he should take plenty of beating from his handy stall 4 draw – the same stall that berthed his stablemate Copper Knight when he took this race back in 2017. Current quotes of 5/2 look possibly over-generous for a horse who is likely to be seen in much better company later this year.

Army Of India looks a particularly interesting rival on the back of his recent Doncaster second – with the drop back to five furlongs on a sharp track an interesting move for this front runner. Yet recent showers over the Roudee provide a major cause for concern.


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FANCY MAN (3.15 Chester, 13/2)

The late defection of Aidan O’Brien’s Sir Lamorak leaves this renewal of the Chester Vase wide open. Wirko won well at Epsom last time, and his pedigree gives hope that he will handle conditions, yet he did take a while to get on top the last day and there is a feeling that this sharper track could catch him out.

The vote goes to FANCY MAN, who showed a real proficiency for soft ground as a juvenile, landing the Listed Ascendant Stakes at Haydock in September. That form has received multiple boosts since, with the second going on to take last month’s Classic Trial (Group 3) at Sandown.

Fancy Man was well held in the Fielden Stakes at Newmarket last month, yet that was a tough task conceding weight all round, and the ground would have been quicker than ideal. He is back on softer conditions today, and rates as the one to beat off his current rating (106) – so the 13/2 available makes plenty of appeal.


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UNCLE JUMBO (3.45 Chester, 3/1)

It is difficult to get away from the claims of UNCLE JUMBO, who had some smart juvenile form to his name behind the likes of Happy Romance and Devious Company. Kevin Ryan’s charge has run well in defeat in both starts so far this year, looking particularly unfortunate when caught in a pocket at Pontefract last time out.

On paper, this looks weaker than that aforementioned Pontefract contest, and with a low draw to advantage – likes to race prominently – he should be up there from the get-go.

Closely related to Major Jumbo, who improved with age and recorded his best RPR over this very track and trip, everything points towards a big performance here in what rates a winnable assignment.

Paws For Thought is probably handicapped up to his best at present, but a course win should come in handy over these fairly inexperienced rivals, so he rates a clear second best.


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Chester May Festival Day 1 Best Bets

DARLECTABLE YOU (2.15 Chester, 7/2)

SHOWALONG (2.45 Chester, 5/2)

FANCY MAN (3.15 Chester, 13/2)

UNCLE JUMBO (3.45 Chester, 3/1)


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