Racing returns to Chester this weekend for a superb double-header on the Roodee.

The action begins on Friday with a six-race card for Ladies’ Evening, which gets underway at 5.55pm and concludes at 8.50pm.

Saturday’s action is a seven-race fixture which includes the feature class two Woodford Reserve Handicap (3.05) and the meeting gets underway at 1.55pm. Tickets remain available via Chester’s Box Office although some enclosures are already sold out.

In the Grosvenor Shopping Centre/EBF Breeders Series Fillies’ Handicap (7.05), Hidden Steps can get back in the winning groove for trainer Andrew Balding.

The four-year-old won a Lingfield maiden before landing a Windsor handicap last season off a mark of 82. She subsequently found life tougher off a 6lb higher market in competitive affairs at Newmarket and Lingfield, before three below-par runs over the winter on the all-weather.

As a result, Hidden Steps mark has dropped to a career-low 79, some 3lb lower than when successful at Windsor and should be capable of making her presence felt in this class three contest, at a track where her trainer has an outstanding record.

The best bet of the weekend could well prove to be Penwortham in the Close Brothers Asset Finance Handicap (8.50, Friday).

Richard Fahey’s five-year-old has an excellent record over course and distance and is sure to appreciate the sound surface, with the going stick currently good to firm, as watering takes place in baking hot conditions.

Penwortham held form figures of 21513 at Chester going into this season, with his latest victory last September off a mark of 83 in a class two handicap.

Two luckless runs have followed this term around his favourite track, poorly drawn at the May Festival before being forced wide here at the end of May in a decent race won by Baraweez.

He shaped nicely at Haydock earlier this month, dropped to five furlongs and that should have blown the cobwebs off ahead of this weekend’s return to his optimum seven-furlong trip.

If we only consider his runs at seven furlongs, Penwortham drops into a class four 0-85 handicap here which looks much more winnable than his recent exertions. He’s ideally berthed in stall one and could prove very hard to beat.

The ITV cameras are at Newcastle tonight and Party Fears Too looks the best bet in the AW Jenkinson Handicap (6.55).

Jim Goldie’s three-year-old endured a luckless passage at Doncaster in class four company on June 1, breaking poorly, badly hampered but staying on to finish fourth.

Dropped in class he was a cosy winner at Hamilton last week stepped up to a mile for the first time, winning with plenty in hand and a 6lb penalty for that success may not prove enough to stop the gelding from backing up.

Saturday’s action centres around the Northumberland Plate Handicap (2.05) at Newcastle and this all-weather prize looks ready-made for Withhold to scoop.

Bought out of Charlie Hills’ yard by Brighton and Hove Albion owner Tony Bloom, Withhold was sent to Roger Charlton’s and duly made a mockery of the Cesarewitch Handicap at the end of last season, absolutely smashed into 5-1f and bolting up by three lengths under Silverstre de Sousa.

It’s Robert Winston on board this weekend, but Charlton has made no secret of the fact they’ve been waiting for this valuable prize with the five-year-old, who was handed a 12lb rise for that success in the autumn.

Withhold still looks well-handicapped off 99 and if – as hoped – he is to develop into a Melbourne Cup contender, he’d have to go close here.

I like three at York on Saturday, starting with Starlight Romance in the Bet & Watch At Sunbets Fillies Handicap (2.10).

Fahey's charge won well at York last month and a small rise in the handicap means she stays in class three company one more time, before having to inevitably race in better races later this year. This looks weaker than the last race she won and could take some beating.

In the Jumps Jockeys Nunthorpe (4.30), Tylery Wonder looks to have been laid out for his five furlong dash by shrewd sprint handler Paul Midgley.

Tylery Wonder won this race last year under Tom Scudamore, who is booked again for another tilt at this decent prize. He's potential very well handicapped and if he breaks well (has a tendency to blow the start, as he did at Nottingham on recent comeback run) he could prove really difficult to peg back under Scudamore.

Final looks to have a good chance in the World Cup Betting Apprentice Handicap (5.00). Mark Johnston's charge takes a drop in class here having been racing in much better company of late. He's been coming to the boil and 5lb claimer Ollie Stammers is a good booking.