There’s a midweek treat for Flat racing fans as the Chester May Festival kicks off on Wednesday with three great days of action. Our man, Nick Luck, will be previewing it all for us and here are his day one best bets.

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Chester

DEVIOUS ANGEL can win the opening race at Chester’s May Festival on Wednesday (1.45pm). She ran a very promising debut (good time) behind Queen Mary fancy Desert Dreamer at Newmarket (race working out well), where she showed pace, before annihilating an inferior field at Southwell. Her early speed and ability to handle a deep surface gives plenty of hope that she’ll be able to dominate on this rain softened ground from a low draw. Clearly the stable targets this race every year and, with the fillies’ allowance, she looks the one to beat at 11/4.

DUBAI FOUNTAIN (5/2) needs to fend off some fillies with potential, but sets an unusually high standard going into the Cheshire Oaks (2.15pm). A filly with loads of experience last year, she ran two of her best races with plenty of cut in the ground, most strikingly when finishing an excellent fourth in the fillies’ mile. Although she flattened a little late, my read would be that she was just a little one paced for that trip in that grade. As a half-sister to Leoncavallo, there is every chance she could improve for this test and she might just end up a sneaky Oaks outsider.

FIRST COMPANY is a slightly more chancy proposition in the sprint handicap (2.45pm) at 11/1, but might have found the right level. He wasn’t much to shout about on his first two starts last year, but showed bright speed the second time before producing an extraordinary effort on easy ground in a Listed race at Ayr. He appeared to back that up in the Cornwallis, however, and is not harshly treated on those efforts. He will love any rain, is well drawn, has plenty of speed and is bred to improve.

YOUTH SPIRIT can upset one or two of the higher profile hopefuls in the Chester Vase (3.15pm) at 6/1. Ridden by Tom Marquand for Andrew Balding, who has a fine record at this meeting, he ran a bit better than the margin suggested on his comeback behind a very smart prospect in Highland Avenue. He has strong form as a two-year-old, has won on soft ground, and is narrowly preferred to Fancy Man, who finished just behind him the other day, but who can also take a big step forward on this ground.

PIVOTING is an each-way possibility in the hardest race of the day, the six-furlong handicap (3.45pm). He has a slightly patchy profile in a light career to date, but his signature performance came when dominating on soft ground at Pontefract last autumn (not badly handicapped on that), and surely Cam Hardie will attempt similar tactics here. The handicapper kindly dropped him a couple of pounds for his comeback. He’s a 10/1 chance.

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