Ante-post favourite Anak Pekan is in fine form ahead of Wednesday’s totesport Chester Cup, according to trainer Michael Jarvis.
A maximum 18 runners were declared for the £120,000 (€177,900) handicap over an extended two and a quarter miles at today’s final 48-hour stage.
“He’s fine. He’s a pretty fit sort of horse, so he’s been ticking over. He’s fit and well,” Jarvis said.
Anak Pekan, an impressive winner of the Queen’s Prize at Kempton over Easter, is the 7-2 market leader with William Hill.
However, the ground has dried out to good to firm and Jarvis said: “I’d like to see some more rain.
"He’s effective on softish ground. He has run good races on fast ground, but he’s probably more effective with a bit of cut.”
Of the 22 five-day entries, Savannah Bay and Zibeline were taken out today, while the bottom two in the handicap, High Point and Sailor A’hoy, failed to make the cut.
Malton trainer Brian Ellison has decided to save Zibeline for the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate at Newcastle next month.
“We’ll freshen him up for the Northumberland Plate. He’s had a good campaign. We got him ready for Cheltenham, then he went and won at Liverpool,” said Ellison.
“He had two hard races and we felt that two and a quarter miles would just stretch him a bit, whereas two miles is ideal and so we’ll get him ready for the Plate now.”
Ponderon will only take his chance on the Roodee if there is significant rain, trainer Fulke Johnson Houghton has warned.
With Savannah Bay an absentee, the weights have been raised 2lb, leaving the Paul Cole-trained Swing Wing to give weight all round on 9st 10lb.
Cole will also saddle Archduke Ferdinand, while three other trainers are double-handed too.
They are Philip Hobbs with Unleash and Numitas, Mick Channon with Misternando and Almizan, and Alan Swinbank with Collier Hill and Gracilis.
Big Moment, runner-up to Hugs Dancer 12 months ago, will attempt to go one better for his trainer Amanda Perrett.
Totesport Chester Cup betting:
William Hill: 7-2 Anak Pekan, 7-1 Big Moment, Rahwaan, 10-1 Ponderon, Unleash, 12-1 Misternando, Kristenson, 14-1 Numitas, 16-1 Distant Prospect, Swing Wing, 20-1 bar.