Dr Marwan Koukash loves nothing better than a winner at his local Chester track and he again appears to hold the key to the feature event on the opening day of the three-day meeting on the Roodee.
Koukash has seen his colours carried to glory in the Betway Chester Cup for the last two years with Address Unknown triumphing in 2013 while Suegioo, who returns to defend his title, emerged victorious last year.
While Koukash again fires an array of arrows at the two-mile race, preference is for Gabrial’s King who appears to have plenty in his favour - not least an advantageous low draw in stall three.
Five of his eight career wins have come on the all-weather at Wolverhampton, but his ability is not limited to the Dunstall Park track as he has also proved up to the mark at Kempton, Newbury and York.
That win on the Knavesmire was his most recent success last July with a handful of runs towards the end of the year failing to yield any joy for Richard Fahey’s charge.
However, he really caught the eye on his return at Ripon last month when beaten just under four lengths into second by the reopposing Trip To Paris.
That rival is clearly well handicapped but Gabrial’s King would have been a fair bit closer with a clear run as he made up plenty of ground in the final furlong and he is taken to find most improvement of the pair, putting him well in the mix for another famous Koukash success.
The Arkle Finance Ltd Cheshire Oaks has not produced a subsequent Epsom victor since Light Shift in 2007 but Victoria Pollard can at least book her ticket for the main event next month with victory here.
Andre Balding’s runner has had just one outing so far, winning a competitive maiden with a rich history at Newbury in very good style.
Her three-quarter-length verdict does not really tell the full story as she won with plenty in hand and given her staying pedigree, she will certainly not be found wanting for stamina if she does tackle the Oaks itself.
* Selections -
Brighton: 2.00 Fast Gold, 2.30 Clear Praise, 3.00 Duke Street, 3.35 Roy Rocket, 4.10 Serene Beauty, 4.45 Admirable Art, 5.15 Whitecrest.
Chester: 2.10 Silver Wings, 2.40 Victoria Pollard, 3.10 GABRIAL’S KING (NAP), 3.45 Come On Dave, 4.20 Sir Isaac Newton, 4.55 Duke Of Firenze, 5.25 Peterhof.
Chelmsford: 6.15 Crazy Chic, 6.45 Zampa Manos, 7.15 Welsh Gem, 7.45 Bracken Brae, 8.15 Orange Bloom, 8.45 Pinzolo, 9.15 Arctic Lynx.
Kelso: 1.50 Silk Hall, 2.20 Iora Glas, 2.50 Oxalido, 3.20 Resolute Reformer, 3.55 Sharp Rise, 4.30 Kalastar, 5.05 Down The Line.
Uttoxeter: 5.30 Pressurize, 6.00 Black Jack Rover, 6.30 Catkin Copse, 7.00 Basford Ben, 7.30 The Purchaser, 8.00 Railway Dillon, 8.30 Kilty Caul.
Double: Gabrial’s King and Peterhof.