PAUL HANAGAN, who rode a sensational five winners at Warwick on Monday, can spoil his former boss Richard Fahey's party by landing today's Chester Cup at the main expense of the Malton trainer.
Hanagan teams-up with Mubaraza, who failed by a neck to beat Fahey's Angel Gabrial at Ripon last month and who is now fancied to gain his revenge in the Stan James-sponsored marathon.
Trained by Ed Dunlop, Mubaraza performed well in top staying events last season, but he lacked the benefit of a previous race when going to Ripon where he crossed swords in such thrilling style with Angel Gabrial, who was race-fit after two previous races this term.
Not only will Mubaraza have had any cobwebs blown away by that outing, he is now set to meet Angel Gabrial on better terms, the winner having picked-up a 3lb penalty for his success. It might just be enough to see the tables turned.
That said, Angel Gabrial has leading claims as he bids to follow-up the success in last year's Chester Cup of Address Unknown, trained by Fahey, who also saddled the second, Ingleby Spirit, on that momentous occasion.
Fahey has a second string to his bow this afternoon in Duke Of Clarence, bought out of Richard Hannon's stable earlier this year and a decent performer in his own right, so he has 1-2 chances yet again. Hanagan, though, could well be the spoiler on Mubaraza, who is marginally preferred, especially as he is well berthed in stall five.
Hanagan, who is in red-hot form at present - he also rode two winners at Newmarket last Sunday - has likewise strong claims on Mukhmal in the opening Manor House Stables Lily Agnes Stakes.
Mark Johnston's juvenile looked decidedly smart when making a winning debut at Musselburgh last month. This race looks a suitable second step for him, but the only worry is that his wide draw from stall ten on the tightest turning track in Britain could prove his undoing.
Aidan O'Brien brings a strong team of horses each year to Chester's May Festival and usually goes home with winners. Terrific could be the first for him this year in the Weatherbys' Private Banking Cheshire Oaks.
Twice a winner at the Curragh last season, Terrific finished third at Navan in Listed company on her reappearance. She may just have the edge over John Gosden's impressive Newbury winner Bright Approach.
Gosden has further chances on the card, not least with Anglo Irish in the Diabetes UK Handicap and Prince Of Stars, who shaped well on his Newmarket debut, in the Boodles Diamond Maiden Stakes. A winner at Lingfield and Kempton, Anglo Irish looks potentially smart and is napped to complete a hat-trick provided he copes with this switch to turf.
The speedy pair Go Nani Go (3.15) and Lucky Beggar (4.25) can also make their mark in their respective race over the flying five furlongs.
Richard Hughes and Kieren Fallon both miss the opening day at Chester to ride instead at Brighton. Both jockeys should figure among the winners.
Hughes rides Dougal (2.05), who shaped well on his debut for Richard Hannon, while Fallon joins forces with top jumps trainer Nicky Henderson when he partners Nesterenko (3.35), who has the advantage of being fit from a successful hurdling campaign.
1.45 Mukhmal, 2.15 Terrific, 2.45 Mubaraza, 3.15 Go Nani Go, 3.50 Prince Of Stars, 4.25 Lucky Beggar, 5.00 Anglo Irish (NAP).
2.05 Dougal, 2.35 Top Cop, 3.05 Sandy Cove, 3.35 Nesterenko, 4.10 Aqua Ardens, 4.45 Darnathean, 5.20 Dreams Of Glory.
Today's other meetings
Kelso, Kempton and Worcester.
Chester, Carlisle, Newton Abbot, Southwell and Wincanton.