|1pt win Opera Gal in 13.35 Chester at 8/1 (General).||Could well outclass these from the front on suitable ground|
Andrew Balding's stable is just starting to hit a bit of form and OPERA GAL has solid claims of bolstering the yard's prizemoney for May in the opening M&S Money Handicap at Chester on Thursday.
This consistent mare has improved with racing into the pattern-level performer that she became last season, when she ran at listed level or better on her last six starts.
The last time she contested a handicap was here at Chester last June, when she was beaten a length-and-a-half off a mark of 94.
She's 7lbs higher now, but deserves to be after a series of creditable efforts in decent company and there's every chance she could outclass this opposition from the front.
The only way she knows how to race is to make all and crucially she shouldn't have much competition for the lead - Area Fifty One is the only other front-runner in the line-up but Richard Fahey has doubts that he will go in this ground.
There are no such issues for Opera Gal who has won twice with give in the turf. It will take a good one to pass her if she gets into a good rhythm up front, which she should be able to from box two.
I like the fact she stays further and has won at the track while it's also pleasing to see she has run with credit on her two seasonal reapperances.
Given she has so much in her favour and could have the run of the race it's a surprise to see her as fifth choice in the betting.
The 8/1 generally available looks like a good bit of business.