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Wayne Rooney’s racing debut a washout

By Chris McGrath

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 stone last in the opening race here.

When his trainer had warned that Pippy was “in at the deep end”, the Manchester United striker — who runs Tomway at the meeting today — could not have realised how literally that prediction might be construed.

Joseph O'Brien could be thrown a lifeline, despite a ban which threatened to force the young jockey to miss the Abu Dhabi Irish 2,000 Guineas.

O'Brien was hit with a four-day suspension by the Chester stewards, who found him guilty of using his whip above the permitted level when finishing a narrow second to Good Morning Star aboard Betterbetterbetter — trained by his father Aidan — in the Cheshire Oaks.

O'Brien was initially informed that he would be sidelined from May 23-26, which includes the first day of the Classic meeting at The Curragh.

The speculation, however, is that the young rider can apply to the British Horseracing Authority to defer the ban as Group One racing will be taking place, and that would be a likely route as his father will have a couple of runners in the first Irish Classic of the season.

For some, even so soggy a first day contrived only to intensify the addiction of this historic Chester 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 place 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.

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.

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.

The Northumberland Plate is the obvious option for Ile De Re, while Overturn may well show up at Royal Ascot.

The colts take their turn in today's Epsom trial, the MBNA Chester Vase, in which a strong Irish challenge looks likely from Aidan O’Brien’s David Livingston and John Oxx’s Call To Battle.

AP McCoy had a treble at Ffos Las courtesy of High Storm, Mister Hyde and Lookout Mountain.

Droim Toll, a 16-1 shot ridden by Davy Condon, won the featured Breakfast With Hector Handicap Chase at Punchestown.

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