Double Banded sneaks in to Chester Cup

JOHN Dunlop’s well-fancied Double Banded has just made the cut for the totesport.com Chester Cup at the Roodee tomorrow.

The 3lb penalty the progressive young stayer picked up for winning at Nottingham two weeks ago proved crucial in getting into the maximum 17-strong field.

Nosferatu and Chocolate Caramel were the only two defectors at the 48-hour final declaration stage.

Last week’s Sagaro Stakes victor Shipmaster heads the weights, his 3lb penalty taking his burden to 9st 13lb in the Heritage Handicap run over an extended two and a quarter miles.

Others bidding for glory include last year’s winner Greenwich Meantime and ante-post favourite Highland Legacy.

There are two reserves, Calculating and Buster Hyvonen, who could come in should there be any non-runners declared before 11.30am on Tuesday.

Paul Webber has issued a warning that Full House will only run if the ground is good.

Brian Ellison has snapped up Saturday’s 2000 Guineas-winning jockey Johnny Murtagh for Tilt after the Norton trainer was left looking for a rider when Tom Eaves was claimed by Bryan Smart.

“We had Tom but because he’s first jockey to Bryan now, he was claimed to go to Beverley, which was annoying,” said Ellison.

“We rang round to see who was there and we’ve got Johnny Murtagh. He’s one of the best jockeys in Europe.

“You’ve got to have bottle for those big races and he’s got plenty.”

Ellison believes his horse, who was second to Double Banded over a mile and three-quarters at Nottingham last month, has a lot going for him.

“They went no pace at Nottingham and Double Banded got the run of the race. It was a great run considering it wasn’t run to suit us,” Ellison added.

“He’s got a good draw (eight) and a good jockey. He’s in tremendous form and did a brilliant bit of work on Sunday.

“He was third in the Northumberland Plate over two miles on heavy ground. He was drawn wide that day and he had to make up a lot of ground, so this trip will not be a problem.”

Market leaders Highland Legacy and Double Banded were both handed single-figure draws.

Greenwich Meantime defied stall 16 when beating Fair Along 12 months ago and has been cut to 8-1 from 10-1 with the sponsors to repeat the trick, having been given stall 10 this time.

totesport.com Chester Cup, sponsors bet: 7-2 Highland Legacy, 5-1 Double Banded, 8-1 Black Rock, 10-1 Greenwich Meantime, 12 Bar

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