McCain proves local hero with Cup one-two


The Roodee, Chester

It may take Wayne Rooney a little longer to get the point of the Roodee, having peered through a deluge to see his first-ever runner finish last in the opening race here yesterday. When his trainer warned that Pippy was "in at the deep end", the Manchester United striker could not have realised how literally that prediction might be construed. For other local heroes, however, even so soggy a first day contrived only to intensify the addiction of this meeting.

Donald McCain brought two horses up the road from Cholmondeley for the ancient handicap that distils the gorgeous, chaotic Chester carousel. One of them, Overturn, had won it last year, and in the meantime confirmed himself in public affection with a typically obstinate second in the Champion Hurdle. But the other, Ile De Re, would prove the one and only horse in the Stan James Chester Cup field still hanging in there as the top weight completed his second lap and swung into the straight.

The rest were strewn exhausted in their wake, conditions having made for an unsparing test. Proceedings had initially been delayed while a tractor hauled clear a marooned ambulance, and they did not risk stalls for the big race, which might at least have relieved some of the notorious emphasis on the draw. As it was, the start was all about the familiar alacrity of Overturn, who was soon dictating as usual and, by gradual increments, drawing his pursuers to the limit of their commitment. Harrison's Cave, last with a circuit to go, was cutting stealthily through the field but that effort had to tell and McCain knew, turning in, that his pair had it between them.

In the event, it was Ile De Re who wore down the leader to win by nearly two lengths, the pair five and then 13 lengths clear. Such were the demands of the race and, Ile De Re being a relatively recent recruit, McCain found it impossible to suppress an instinct of pity for his talisman.

"The old horse had everything else beat but did not quite get home on the ground," he said. "A lot of credit for Ile De Re must go to Ian Williams. I've only had the horse a few weeks, and he arrived looking a million dollars. But we all have a lot of affection for Overturn, and he showed again today how tough and hardy he is. He only has one way of doing things, but he's so hard to pass."

The Northumberland Plate is the obvious option for Ile De Re, while Overturn may well show up at Royal Ascot. McCain, having built up one of the top jumping yards in the land, admittedly has greater curiosity in seeing him over fences. As such he can afford to treat Flat runners even at his local carnival as something of an indulgence.

"I can't say I get the same stupid excitement as I do with a good jumper," he admitted. "But it's very satisfying. And growing up I was always a fan of these distance races."

To some, however, this place will always be the lodestar. Certainly, Dr Marwan Koukash, whose grey silks have obtained such ubiquity over the past couple of seasons, instructs all his trainers to make a priority of this meeting. Mark Johnston, her trainer, admitted that Good Morning Star would never have lined up in the Weatherbys Bank Cheshire Oaks but for Koukash, who had tried to buy several other runners with a more obvious chance.

If you can't join them, however, you can always beat them. Good Morning Star lost for the seventh time in eight starts, off a mark of just 75, in a Beverley handicap last time, but somehow she was able to run down Betterbetterbetter after the favourite had seized the initiative turning in. "I had been looking for a claimer for her," Koukash said. "But she's a valuable filly now and we'll have to take her to Royal Ascot."

Whether Betterbetterbetter had faltered through inexperience, or lack of spirit, will have to be determined after her next start, but at least the race did not alter her stable's existing grip on the Investec Oaks market.

The colts take their turn in today's Epsom trial, the MBNA Chester Vase, in which all five runners are bred to appreciate a new test of stamina. Model Pupil represents a reliable firm here, and rallied auspiciously to win his maiden at the Craven meeting, but will have to be very smart to see off a strong Irish challenge. David Livingston will definitely build on his comeback spin last month but he must give 4lb to Call To Battle, whose own reappearance reiterated that he will only reach top gear over this kind of distance.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Stand To Reason (4.45 Chester) Lightly raced, well bred and in good hands, maintaining his progressive profile on his Newbury reappearance. Could prove better than this grade.

Next best

Absinthe (1.35 Chester) Has shaped well over hurdles since changing stable and, as one that travels well and enjoys cover, interesting round here on first Flat start for local trainer.

One to watch

Samminder (Peter Chapple-Hyam) Had been tried in the Middle Park at two and hinted why on his first start since, in a Listed sprint at Kempton last week, never off the bridle but trapped in traffic.

Where the money's going

Maybe is 7-2 from 6-1 with Ladbrokes for the Investec Oaks.

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
Review: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
Football Vine shows Suarez writhing in pain before launching counter attack
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
Lukas Podolski celebrates one of his two goals in Arsenal's win over Hull
Arts & Entertainment
Quentin Tarantino, director
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit