Ante-post favourite Swift Sailor is one of a maximum field of 18 to stand their ground at the final declaration stage for Wednesday’s totesport Chester Cup.
Mark Johnston’s unexposed four-year-old has had only three career outings and opened his account this season when winning a Musselburgh handicap in March.
He has been supported for the historic race since the market opened and is joined by stablemates Mana D’Argent, who was fifth last season, and Contact Dancer, winner of last year’s Cesarewitch but unraced this term.
Swift Sailor will be partnered by Kevin Darley, who will waste down to 8st 3lb to take the mount, and his trainer reports the gelding’s preparations to have gone to plan.
Johnston said: “He’s a very inexperienced horse for the Chester Cup but he’s done nothing wrong. He worked the other day and he worked very well.
“Royston Ffrench will ride Contact Dancer and Kevin will be on Swift Sailor, which will be his minimum weight but he says he wants to do it, which could be an indication of what he thinks of him.”
The Steve Gollings-trained Romany Prince, who has been hurdling recently, heads the weights on 9st 10lb followed by Anak Pekan, a well-backed winner of the race for Michael Jarvis 12 months ago.
Big Moment and Distant Prospect, who were third and fourth that day, reoppose.
A number of horses who are better known for their hurdling exploits are also set to tackle the Roodee including Unleash, Copeland and King Revo, plus Tees Components, who has not run for two years.
Aidan O’Brien dominated the Guineas meeting at the weekend and will have his first Chester Cup runner in the shape of the lightly-raced Coconut Beach, who will be the mount of Kieren Fallon.
Jamie Poulton’s Land ´n Stars is another to catch the eye, with the field being completed by Cold Turkey, the interesting Howard Johnson recruit Balyan, Dr Sharp, Larkwing and High Point.
Stoop To Conquer and Calamintha are the two reserves.