When New Year dawns at the trainer's Lambourn yard his first determination appears to be to plot as many Chester winners as he can and specifically to identify a winner of the Dee Stakes. As he has won the event nine times it may pay to consider his entrant in today's running, Tawkil.
Bald statistics would give the colt a leading chance but as Hills has also been mentioning his name over the coffee and mints at dinner recently Tawkil (2.40) cannot be avoided. He was hardly assaulted by Willie Carson on his reappearance behind Storm Trooper in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket last month and his form last year is no disincentive as he finished second to Mark Of Esteem at Goodwood. The one for the forecast is Prize Giving, whose trainer, Geoff Wragg, is another who likes Chester, where the daily spectacle is of punters crawling over each other like maggots in an angler's tub.
Hills is represented in the day's Group race, the Ormonde Stakes, by Further Flight, who is almost old enough to be classified as a veteran even by steeplechasing standards. The 10-year-old showed the bones were still holding up at Nottingham last month, but there are some dangerous young bucks lined up against him this time. The race conditions seem to favour Minds Music (3.40), Classic Cliche's nearest pursuer in the St Leger last season.
Chester would not be Chester without the complex handicaps which were probably the reason why the Romans left town. The best methodology here apears to be to select a runner which has proved itself around the unique circuit.
The five-furlong contest, therefore, is within the province of ZIGGY'S DANCER (nap 3.10), who has already run three times this year. But as the colt performed on 21 occasions last season it may safe to assume he is only now reaching fitness.
The Wynn Handicap takes the prize as the greatest misnomer of the season, and is best left to a horse who will bolt out and avoid the inevitable scrums on the bends. Chickawicka (next best 4.10) fits the bill.Reuse content