Naples Could Be Handicap Blot In Chester Cup

Anyone who saw the victory of the Mark Johnston-trained, Gulf of Naples, at the late-April fixture at Ripon could hardly have failed to be impressed with the way the stayer despatched decent opposition. He may well be the one to back in the prestigious Chester Cup on the Roodeye, on May 9, writes Eliot Slater.

Handed just a 3lb penalty for his five-length dismissal of Halla San, the progressive son of Dubawi could be ‘well in’ if his entries in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup and other top middle-distance and staying contests, over the next few months, are anything to go by. Get great odds on racing at Bet Victor.

Johnston is a past master at progressing his horses through handicaps into pattern company, and the up-and-coming four-year-old looks to be a horse who could take all the beating at Chester, if he gets the run of the race, something that can never be taken for granted on one of the tightest tracks in European racing.

Unraced as a juvenile, Gulf of Naples won a Catterick maiden over 12 furlongs, last August, before ending the term with back-to-back wins in staying company at Doncaster and Newmarket; the results strongly suggested that he would be one to follow, this season.

Reappearing at Kempton, in April, in the Queen’s Prize Handicap over two miles, Silvestre de Sousa’s mount looked to take the measure of Thimaar at the two furlong pole but, in the end, went down by a length to the well-regarded John Gosden-trained winner, the pair pulling a long way clear of the rest of the field.

Raised to a mark of 98, despite his loss, Gulf of Naples was always in command at Ripon, and he handled the testing ground well.

A better surface at Chester may prove no barrier to success, for a horse now quoted as a general 11/2 joint-favourite for the big race, alongside last year’s winner, and recent Champion Hurdle runner-up, Overturn. Have a bet on horse racing on Bet Victor.