Mark Prescott bemoans Sea Of Heaven’s Chester Cup draw

Mark Prescott is downbeat about Sea Of Heaven’s chances in the 188Bet Chester Cup after his smart stayer was out of luck in the lottery that is the draw for the big race.
Mark Prescott bemoans Sea Of Heaven’s Chester Cup draw

The five-year-old will start the two-and-a-quarter-mile test from stall 14 in the 17-runner field and Prescott feels that severely compromises his chances.

Chester holds no fears as Sea Of Heaven was successful in a two-mile handicap there in September 2015.

He also ran respectably over an inadequate trip last summer before ending the campaign with an excellent third place in the Cesarewitch.

But the Newmarket trainer said: “He’s badly drawn.

“The horse is fine, but he’s a got a very difficult draw for the jockey (Luke Morris) to overcome.

“The horse is quite keen-going, so if you light him up he’ll do too much. If he drops him in, he’ll have too much to do.

“It’s a horse that needed a good draw badly. It’s just the draw, everything else is fine.

“The jockey and the horse will have to be at their best.”

Iain Jardine is hoping Jamie Spencer will provide the magic touch on Nakeeta, who was narrowly defeated in this valuable long-distance handicap 12 months ago.

Spencer was the winning jockey on No Heretic that day and Jardine feels he is the right man for the job.

“Jamie has never ridden for me before,” Jardine told At The Races.

“I think this pair will be well suited together. Jamie is a great hold-up jockey.

“He’ll come late - that’s what Nakeeta likes to do - and hopefully they can time it right. We need an awful lot of luck and we go there with every chance.

“He’s done plenty of work and he seems in very good shape. He’s fresh and well.

“We have a better draw (stall 10) than we had last year so we’re hopeful for a good run. He definitely improved as the season went on. His rating tells you that.

“We’re 10lb worse off than we were last year but I’m hoping he’s still progressing in the right direction.

“We’re happy we’ve got him in the same shape as he was for this race last season.

“Fingers crossed he’ll run a big race.”

Nakeeta ended last season finishing second to Golden Spear in Leopardstown’s November Handicap and Tony Martin’s runner reopposes.

“He’s been very consistent and if he keeps going that way he should run well,” said the County Meath handler, who is delighted to have Ryan Moore on board.

“He’s drawn 12 of 17, which isn’t great, but it’s not too bad, and the jockey we’ve got on board will be a big help.”

Magic Circle, who was third in that Leopardstown contest, also renews rivalries.

However his trainer Ralph Beckett is pessimistic about his horse’s chances after being given a wide draw in stall 18.

“He can’t win from that draw,” said Beckett.

Meanwhile Aidan O’Brien will field four of the eight runners in a bid to extend his excellent recent record in the MBNA Chester Vase on Thursday.

The Ballydoyle handler has saddled a record seven previous winners, including in the last four renewals, of this recognised Derby trial.

The last horse to win this Group Three prize before going on to claim Epsom glory the following month was Ruler Of The World in 2013.

This year O’Brien is represented by Finn McCool, The Anvil, Venice Beach and Wings Of Eagles. His son, Joseph, runs Dundalk winner Druids Cross.

Perhaps the biggest threat to the Irish contingent is the John Gosden-trained Cunco.

The son of Frankel made a successful start to his three-year-old campaign in the Sandown Classic Trial a fortnight ago.

Count Octave is stepped up in class by Andrew Balding after impressing at Wolverhampton and Saeed bin Suroor’s runaway Newmarket scorer Tamleek completes the line-up.

Aidan O’Brien’s Deauville heads a classy field of six runners for the Huxley Stakes.

A Grade One winner in America last summer, the four-year-old can be expected to strip fitter for his recent comeback run in the Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown, when he finished second to Ulysses.

The ultra-consistent Folkswood is a major contender for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin, while Sir Michael Stoute, successful 12 months ago with Cannock Chase, sends Poet’s Word into battle.

Richard Fahey’s Garbrial, Gosden’s Royal Artillery and Snoano from Tim Easterby’s yard are the other runners.

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