£100,000 Cardinal Stakes the highlight of Chelmsford’s Saturday card as powerhouse trainer Aidan O’Brien sends Irish star to Essex

Lifestyle / Fri 5th Apr 2024 at 12:04pm

ONE of the premier meetings of Chelmsford Racecourse’s season arrives this weekend with The Cardinal Stakes card at the track – with a potential spot in the famous Kentucky Derby on the horizon over in the USA. 

The Cardinal Stakes is one of seven races on the card this weekend at Chelmsford, with racing getting underway at 2.50 before rounding off at 6.15. 

The opening race of the meeting is an 11-runner apprentice handicap over the 1m2f distance at Chelmsford. Mc’Ted for trainer Joseph Parr arrives off the back of an all-weather win at Wolverhampton earlier this week and will be the one to beat this weekend and to defy a penalty for his Wolves success. The chief threat is likely to come from Come On John, who has a modest record on the polytrack but has been eased in the weights here, putting him firmly in contention off a new and very workable mark.

The second race (3.30) is the feature of the card – The Cardinal Stakes – with more than £50,000 heading to the winner and a spot in the Kentucky Derby. Powerhouse Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien could well have this race sewn up with Capulet, third in the Group 2 Juddmonte Stakes at Newmarket back in September and who is clearly the class of this field. If there is one to challenge the Ballydoyle maestro then it could well come from Cuban Tiger for trainer Karl Burke, a winner of the Listed Burradon Stakes at Newcastle back on March 29, while Orne finished three lengths behind Cuban Tiger in that race but is 5lb lighter in the weights this time around and is firmly in contention for that.

Race three (4.05) is a fillies’ handicap and seven runners are set to head to post for the 1m2f trip. Dayzee for trainer Barry Brenna disappointed on his last run at Lingfield, trailing home 11th of 12 at Lingfield but prior to that had placed four times in five runs so is expected to bounce back, having won at Salisbury in similar company last year. Ayyab will be the main danger, second in a 12-runner handicap at Southwell and has a fitness edge over most of his rivals here.

The fourth race of the afternoon (4.40) is the maiden stakes in class five and it could go the way of an interesting newcomer for trainer Andrew Balding in the form of Capo Vaticano, owned by Brighton & Hove Albion supremo Tony Bloom who cost 145,000 guineas at the sales. Johnny Johnson is the most experienced of the five runners but needs to find improvement having finished last of nine at Windsor on his last run. 

Race five (5.15) sees another Balding runner in Legacy Power hold strong claims in the nine-runner class five handicap, fresh off a fine win in a handicap at Kempton on February 21. Zivanya for trainer Hugo Palmer is also of interest, another winner on their previous run at Kempton in a career-best effort.

The penultimate race on the card is another handicap in class five at 5.45 and dropping down in trip, course winner Smart Deal looks the one to beat from the Alice Haynes yard and finally, the meeting comes to a close with the 7f handicap (6.15) and the selection here is Profitman for trainer Ben Brookhouse, a scorer at Wolverhampton last time out on March 30. 

Chelmsford selections – Saturday (via Grosvenor Sport)

2.50 – McTed

3.30 – Capulet

4.05 – Dayzee

4.40 – Capo Vaticano

5.15 – Legacy Power

5.45 – Smart Deal

6.15 – Profitman

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