The flat racing calendar was brought to life last weekend with the Guineas Festival , and this week sees Chester take centre stage with their May Festival.
The Chester Vase is the feature race on day one, while the Ormonde Stakes is the highlight of day two.
Our horse racing expert previews both races and gives you the best bets for each race.
Aidan O’Brien had a weekend to remember, scooping both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas and will look to continue his good form with victory in the Chester Vase.
He saddles, Norway, Sir Dragonet and Gentile Bellini in the eight-runner race and his record in this race is second to none – winning eight of the last 12 renewals.
Norway is his market leader at 11/4 and is the mount of Ryan Moore. He looks a useful middle-distance performer who won the Zetland Stakes last October, but only finished fourth when starting as favourite in France in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud.
Cheekpieces this time will be used this time in a bid to stop him running lazily and he is likely to run a strong race, but the one uncertainty is how he could handle the rain-softened ground should the poor forecast materialise.
One horse that will not be concerned about the conditions is Charlie Fellowes’ King Ottakar and he is my pick to come up trumps here at 7/2. He relished the rain-softened surface when winning at Newbury on his reappearance last month and once more will get the better of Dashing Willoughby.
At a price, Kaloor may have a good run in him having run on late behind King Ottakar and Dashing Willoughby at Newbury that day and you cannot totally dismiss him from the equation.
The day two feature race is the Ormonde Stakes and it is hard to look past another Aidan O’Brien runner in Kew Gardens.
Last year’s St Leger and Queen’s Vase winner currently heads the market at Evens but he justifies favouritism and is the standout horse in the race as O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore look to make it back-to-back wins in this race following Idaho’s success last season.
His main rival in the race is likely to be Magic Circle at 4/1, who makes his first reappearance since falling well short in the Melbourne Cup.
Last year’s Chester Cup winner was a strong fancy in Australia but finished way down the field, and after the race, it emerged he had suffered with bleeding.
Connections have given him a clean bill of health to return and he is likely to push Kew Gardens all the way, however, the latter looks too good to beat in my opinion.
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