MAKAWEE (1.50) looked a filly worth following through the summer when scorching home at York last month and it was no surprise to see her winning hard held five days later at Wetherby.
David O’Meara has his sights set on winning York’s prestigious Queen Mother’s Cup for lady amateur riders with Makawee and although the four-year-old is 15lb higher than her last visit to the Knavesmire, she is still the one to beat under experienced Joanna Mason. Course winner Arctic Fox is on a hat-trick and can give Makawee most to think about in an always interesting 1m 4f handicap.
MEKONG (3.00) didn’t enjoy the best of runs when hunting up Dee Ex Bee in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown and can go one better. Sir Michael Stoute’s son of Frankel had only a wafer-thin margin to spare over Austrian School in third and the pair could again be fighting out the finish. With last year’s Investec Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee expected to make a bold bid in next week’s Ascot Gold Cup, it seems the strongest line of form on offer.
With 22 runners declared for the 6f handicap it could be a bookies’ benefit but RATHBONE (3.35) is unbeaten in two starts this season for Kevin Ryan. He edged out Blown By Wind at Leicester and that runner-up ran a stormer at Newmarket last Saturday when just denied by heavily-backed Awe. Rathbone has form figures of 2-3-3 on the Knavesmire and should give a good account emerging from stall 17 up the stands’ side. Blown By Wind’s chance may be compromised by his exposed position in stall one. Some firms will be offering five places each-way.
At Chester, WALDSTEIN (2.40) has to concede plenty of weight but his touch of class can see him prevail in a competitive 1m 4f handicap. John Gosden has kept him under wraps since finishing fourth to Norway in the Listed Zetland Stakes at Newmarket in October and Waldstein handled an easy surface when running second to Kadar in a hot Novice Stakes at Haydock, with re-opposing Prefontaine held in third. Waldstein, a lightly-raced son of Sea The Stars, should appreciate this sterner stamina test. Gravistas had been sent off a beaten favourite on his previous three starts before landing some tasty wagers at HQ last Saturday and is a big danger.
Tom Dascombe saddles two fancied runners in the 5f handicap and ANGEL ALEXANDER (3.45) won with such authority at Windsor on Monday that he may well be capable of defying a 5lb penalty. He is better drawn than stablemate She Can Boogie and that may enable him to turn around previous Chester form with the filly.
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