2:05 – Chester – WEATHERBYS BANK CHESHIRE OAKS (FOR THE ROBERT SANGSTER MEMORIAL CUP) (LISTED RACE) (FILLIES) (CLASS 1) (3yo) Winner £19,849 Soft 1m3f79y
There are plenty of high profile horses with excellent pedigee’s trained by top trainers running in the Cheshire Oaks today. After the weekend’s events the favourite will undoubtedly be the Aidan O’Brien trained BetterBetterBetter who is bred in the blue. He has also won this race three times in the last four years. However, like most of the high profile runners, she is running over a longer trip than she has tried before in much softer ground than she has encountered to date.
However, Cockney Sparrow is already proven over the trip and has won in soft ground and at a current price of 18/1 looks to offer decent value in the each way market. The Peter Chapple-Hyam trained bay filly did not run as a 2 year old last season and made her debut in a Class 5 Maiden at Lingfield in March when she came third over 1 mile. She stayed on the polytrack for her second run but was put up in trip to 1 mile 2 furlongs beating the favourite when forging clear to win by 2 ¼ lengths.
She made her turf debut at Beverley on 18 April and was up in trip again to 1 mile 4 furlongs. The race was run in soft ground and although she was only running in a Class 5 Handicap she made a mockery of her initial handicap mark of 71. She challenged for the lead 3 furlongs out, going to the front at 2 furlongs before being pushed clear impressively up Beverley’s punishing hill before the 1 furlong post and being eased down towards the finish to win by 7 lengths.
She is encountering the same conditions again today at Chester. She has already won over 1 mile 2 furlongs and 1 mile 4 furlongs so today’s trip will be well within her compass. She has shown that she can sustain her effort from a long way out and in the underfoot conditions she could catch out some of the more fancied runners with her undoubted stamina.
She is making a massive step up in class from a Class 5 handicap to Listed level but she is clearly progressive and has proven form over the trip and in soft ground. It is eminently possible that at least three of the horses in the race are much better than her over the longer term. However, she is race fit, goes in the ground and more than stays the trip and if the stamina requirements catch out a couple having their first run and the conditions do not suit a couple of the others, Cockney Sparrow could well be the one to benefit at a big price. Her connections clearly think something of her as she has an entry in the Group 2 Ribbledale Stakes at Royal Ascot.