Did anyone ever had the idea to rename the Chester Vase into the Aidan O’Brien Vase? Might be a good idea! The Irish handler has made this race his own in recent years – almost! No less than five of the last eight renewals went his way. And he’s bids for a hat-trick today with exciting Hans Holbein.
This Montjeu son got off the mark in a Leopardstown maiden last month. Over 10f in soft conditions he made all and quickened nicely when asked to do so. But it was the way he found more and more in the final furlong which really impressed me. He clearly wants further, and he clearly is bred to get further. As a Montjeu out of a Derby winning Shirley Heights mare – he is bred to excel over 1m 4f.
Hans Holbein won’t mind the ground as he ran with credit on his seasonal debut in heavy conditions at Cork and won his maiden on rain softened ground at Leopardstown. That says everything is set up for a big performance today.
The opposition doesn’t look all that exciting. In fairness, Godolphin’s Future Empire is still open to any kind of improvement. He was convincingly beaten at Epsom by John Gosden’s Derby hope Christophermarlowe but was poorly placed and ran on a bit. He might be better suited by the 1m 4f trip. If he handles the ground I would expect him to run well.
Storm The Stars needed four attempts to get off the mark. He finally won a maiden last month. His runner-up effort behind Golden Horn reads well and he may improve for the step up in trip. But he has a good bit to find with the first two in the betting in my book.
Mike De Kock saddles Tanaaf. He has been a bit unlucky in a big sales race last month. I believe he’ll be better over this trip, but he’s unproven in soft conditions. The rest of the field looks hardly good enough but Chester and rain softened ground can cause upsets from time to time.
Nonetheless I have to side with the favourite Hans Holbein. If he improves for the new trip as expected he should be head and shoulders above the field.
Hans Holbein @ 9/4 Betfred – 10pts win