Tag Archives: Chester Vase

Thursday Selections: May, 9th 2019


The opening day of Chester’s May Festival was intriguing thanks to – surprisingly – clear-cut winning performances in the two features, the Chester Vase and the Cheshire Oaks: Mehdaayih ran away with the race for the fillies, having ran only three weeks ago in a class 4 handicap at Chelmsford.

Her change of gear entering the home straight was a joy to watch. She’s obviously a very good filly. I would say she also benefited very from the way the race was run and got an excellent ride while also the breaks when needed.

Arguably even more impressive to my eyes was Sir Dragonet, who took the Vase home in scintillating fashion. This son of Camelot only made his racecourse debut a fortnight ago as a 14/1 chance in a Tipperary maiden coming to Chester with this single maiden win to his name. Inexperience showed as he didn’t travel particularly well, at some point he seemed slightly detached from the field.

But he found a devastating turn of foot once let loose. Most exciting for me was to see a horse being asked for a move on the outside over 3 furlongs out, and then, while anyone else is hard working come back on the bridle with less than 2 furlongs to go – you just don’t see that very often!

Surely Sir Dragonet has to be supplemented for the Derby? He looks the real deal on the basis of that performance. Which was the perfect follow-up to Tipperary where he won hard on the bridle in the manner of an exciting colt.

But of course, conditions may played a role as well and ideally you want to see it again before believing he’s a favourite for Epsom – the ante-post market he is now leading! On the other hand 5/1 (best price with firms who may lay you €2 if you’re lucky)  could look big in a few weeks time.


3.00 Chester: Class 2 Handicap, 7.5f

I feel Lincoln Park is the one they all have to beat here with conditions likely to get softer as the days goes on. The Kyllachy colt is ideally drawn to attack today, which will suit him perfectly.

He has shown form on awkward tracks like Pontefract and appeared to be progressive last autumn on rain softened ground landing back-to-back handicaps, while improving his official mark in line with career best RPR’s and TS ratings, including running to TS 87 when winning at Haydock.

He was disappointing in his next two starts, but you could also argue he had excuses both times. Certainly he should improve having a run under his belt now, and dropping down a mark of 85, given he ran to a higher time speed rating already. He’ll need to show that again, of course, now as a 3-year-old.

However, his seasonal reappearance at Musselburgh was a fair performance, finishing 3rd over a fast mile, with the form looking strong as the winner went back-to-back in the meantime.

A softer surface and slight drop in trip at a track favouring his running style, there’ll be no excuses today. Lincoln Park meets ideal conditions and I expect a huge run.

10pts win – Lincoln Park @ 11/2 MB

Wednesday Selections: May, 9th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

2.25 Chester: Cheshire Oaks, Listed, 1M 3F 75Y

This is not a good renewal. At least on paper it appears rather weakish. So, given his record in this race and the jockey bookings at given prices I’m happy to take a chance with Aiden O’Brien’s Magic Wand.

Only to starts to date, a fair debut as a juvenile, and fair pipe opener at Leopardstown in probably unsuitable ground conditions. She looks like crying out for the trip, though the better ground should be a big help too.

Magic Wand was an expensive purchase, is obviously incredibly well bred and has some fancy entries for later the season. Hence this is hopefully only a stepping stone.

10pts win – Magic Wand @ 7/2 WH


3.35 Chester: Chester Vase Stakes, Group 3, 1m 4f

Open looking contest as it often it is the case at this time of the year: who of these well bred colts turns out best? The answer for today may be found in the recent Sandown Classic trial. Two of the main contenders clash here again: Hunting Horn and Ispolini.

I prefer Goldolphin’s Ispolini today. I like his progressive profile and the fact that he clearly has come on over the winter as we seen when he ran a fine race to finish 2nd at Sandown on his seasonal debut.

That was only his third career start and you saw a bit of inexperience in the closing stages. At the same time he is entitled to come on for the run. From a good draw and with the step up in trip likely to suit, this could turn out to be a real Derby contender for the boys in blue.

10pts win – Ispolini @ 7/2 PP

Preview – Chester Vase


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