Trainer Mark Johnston will be hoping for more success after two wins from his last four races. Picture credit: Mike Egerton/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Trainer Mark Johnston will be hoping for more success after two wins from his last four races. Picture credit: Mike Egerton/PA Archive/Press Association Images

While it’s now not always the trainers in the north of the country that dominate flat horse racing, well established stables such as Mark Johnston, Brian Ellison and Richard Fahey are still flying the flag for the north, and all have chances at Chester’s big meeting, in particular the opening day.

I’ll take you through the best chances of our local trainers picking up some prize money.

With no runners in the opening race, Johnston has a solitary runner in the valuable Cheshire Oaks, a general 10/1 shot in Dessertoflife. This horse is back in Listed class, after being well beaten in a Fillies Group One, but has two 2nd places prior to this. It will be a tough ask, with Aidan O’Brien bringing a short priced favourite over from Ireland.

The Chester Cup wouldn’t be a place for favourite backers in recent years, and it looks the same this year. As for the runners from the north, Richard Fahey has four runners in this, all of which are solid each-way shots.

Gabrial the Hero could be popular after a win in a valuable Class 2 contest last time out, but will face an extra three furlongs than he has ever gone previously. Another Fahey runner, Gabrial’s King is another who has a chance, having won a Listed handicap at Chester last year, and ran well at Ripon just two weeks ago.

Elsewhere, Fahey also have Duke of Clarence and Northumberland Plate 4th Angel Gabrial, while Brian Ellison has Totalize, who may struggle in this field.

Next is the 3:45 5-furlong handicap, which features two more Fahey runners, including an interesting runner in Growl. After winning his maiden, he ran for big prize money coming up short, but ran a good race at Ripon last time, and with big name jockey Paul Hanagan on board, connections must think it has every chance. Fahey’s second string Lexi’s Hero could struggle, having been poor in recent runs.

Next up is another sprint, in a Conditions stakes, where Brian Ellison has a fancied horse in Canny Kool. He has struggled in the last two runs, but cannot be ignored following a 2nd to a Graded winner Eastern Impact at Chester last August. Rene Mathis is an outsider for Fahey in this.

Monaco Rose should struggle against some classy horses in a maiden over 10 furlongs under Fahey, but he has a better chance in the last race of the day, with Antiocco.

Despite still being a maiden, this horse picked up a good 2nd two races back, and could be in with an each-way shout.

Mark Johnston has a fancied runner in this also (Soldier in Action), and after winning twice in the last four runs, once in this class, could have an active chance if he handles the extra two furlongs.