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Dancing Magic – 13:30 Chester

Smart Stat: £86.07 – Roger Teal’s profit to a £1 level stake when having one runner at a flat meeting

A smallish gelding who should be suited by the demands of the turning Roodee, Dancing Magic shaped well when 4¾ lengths sixth of 21 to Metal Merchant in a very competitive 1m handicap at Newbury last time, travelling well for a long way before getting tired on his return to action. He has a good draw in stall three, his reduced handicap mark of 94 looks appealing, and the booking of William Buick looks a signal of intent (4/25 for the yard in the past five seasons, +5.00 level stakes profit) for a stable that does extremely well when only saddling one runner on a card.

Hans Andersen – 15:05 Chester

Smart Stat: 3 – Aidan O’Brien’s number of winners in past 6 runnings

Plenty has been made of Sir Michael Stoute’s targeting of this race over the years, but Aidan O’Brien has actually had three winners since 2016 compared to Stoute’s two, all of whom were four-year-olds. Hans Andersen won the Leopardstown 2000 Guineas Trial (by 2½ lengths from Bold Discovery) in 2023 and shrugged off a five-month break when landing a minor event at Dundalk (all-weather debut) last time by 1¼ lengths from Gentleman Joe. He has something to prove on this ground but looks the slow-burning type his yard do very well with.

Duke of Oxford – 15:40 Chester

Smart Stat: £16.42 – Michael Bell’s profit to a £1 level stake with horses being stepped up in trip

Plenty will fancy their chances in an open-looking renewal of the Chester Cup but Duke of Oxford is proven over 2m and he represents a trainer who does well when stepping his horses up in distance. Duke of Oxford won four times in 2023 and was a creditable 3½ lengths second of 13 to Prydwen in the All-Weather Marathon Championships at Newcastle last time, not ideally placed. He will need some luck in-running given his hold-up style, but numerous horses – including Metier 12 months ago – have shown that it is possible to come from off the pace in this race. He is yet to encounter ideal conditions on turf so shouldn’t be ignored merely because his success has come on the all-weather.

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