Chester preview: Huxley Stakes (14.40)
Cannock Chase shaped well on his seasonal reappearance and looks a worthy favourite to get back on the winning trail in the Group 3 Huxley Stakes at Chester today (14.40).
The Sir Michael Stoute trained colt had an ultra progressive profile last season, landing a maiden at Windsor on soft ground before making a mockery of his opening handicap mark to beat subsequent St Leger fourth Windshear by a cosy 1 3/4 lengths in the valuable London Gold Cup at Newbury.
Cannock Chase then took the step up into Group 3 company in his stride to round off the campaign with an impressive display in the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot.
After being held-up in the last pair, the son of Lemon Drop Kid made smooth headway on the outside three from home and after being produced to lead approaching the final furlong only had to be driven out to score with far more in hand than than the winning margin of 1 1/2 lengths suggests.
It was a most taking performance and one which suggested that Cannock Chase would have even more to offer as a four-year-old.
Although just third on his seasonal reappearance in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown, Cannock Chase only faltered late on to be beaten two lengths after travelling like the best horse for much of the contest.
Cannock Chase looks sure to strip much fitter for the outing and, with proven form on soft ground and Ryan Moore in the saddle, can take this before going on to better things.
The main market rival to Cannock Chase, and obvious danger, is the Ralph Beckett trained Air Pilot.
This gelding showed improved form throughout last season when winning three of his six starts, and was most impressive in the last of those when beating Sudden Wonder by two lengths in a Listed contest at Newmarket.
That victory suggested there could be even better to come, and despite being a six-year-old Air Pilot has only had seven starts and remains open to further progression.
The son of Zamindar also has proven form on soft ground, and hails from a yard in good form at present.