to help Carlo Bugatti
MBNA Chester Vase (Group 3) | 1m4½f, 3yo | C4/RUK
EIGHT hopefuls go to post in a bid to follow Ruler Of the World, who 12 months ago became the first Vase winner since Shergar to progress to Investec Derby glory.
Not surprisingly, last year's winning trainer Aidan O'Brien is double-handed in a bid to win this Epsom Classic trial for the fifth time, with Carlo Bugatti and Orchestra, although both are around the 40-1 mark for the Derby.
Carlo Bugatti, blinkered for the first time after a modest showing in the Ballysax Stakes at Navan last month, would appear to be first string with Joseph O'Brien in the saddle, although as he is the rider of Derby favourite Australia it may be Ballydoyle believe it worthwhile pairing Ryan Moore with Orchestra with a view to Epsom. Orchestra steps up considerably in trip on this seasonal return.
Five of today's field hold the blue riband entry, but among the other trio is Stars Over The Sea, who leads the home defence and is the highest-rated in the race on BHA figures. The Mark Johnston-trained colt has already run in one trial, having finished third in the Derby warm-up at Epsom last month.
O'Brien your first port of call
Aidan O'Brien is the trainer to follow, having won four of the past seven runnings, with Soldier Of Fortune (2007), Golden Sword (2009) and Treasure Beach (2011) preceding Ruler Of The World.
Moore the main man
Ryan Moore is the jockey to have on your side, having won it three times in the past six years with Doctor Fremantle (2008), Treasure Beach and Ruler Of the World.
Market a poor guide
Favourites have a poor recent record, with only Ruler Of the World (10-11) obliging in the past five years.
What they say
Bruce Raymond, racing manager to Saeed Manana, owner of Automated
He was unable to dominate at Sandown last time, like he prefers, and Clive Brittain thinks he deserves another crack at this level.
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Carlo Bugatti and Orchestra
Carlo Bugatti ran a nice race at Navan on his first start of the season. He raced a bit lazily so we're using blinkers, which we think will help on such a sharp track. We think he's come forward since his run. Orchestra travels well in his work. He won at Tipperary on his second outing and is just ready to start. We're not sure about the trip, but we're going to find out more about him.
John Gosden, trainer of Romsdal
He ran out a ready winner on the all-weather at Kempton last time. It's a step up in class, but he goes there with a good each-way chance.
Andrew Balding, trainer of Scotland
He was disappointing on his first run of the year at Newbury and I'm just hoping it was a fitness issue. He's worked well since and this will tell us where we are with him.
William Haggas, trainer of Seagull Star
He has a wide draw, but he's come on since Newmarket in his work at home. He's in the Derby and this will tell us where we stand.
Charlie Johnston, son of Mark Johnston, trainer of Stars Over The Sea
He ran really well in the Derby trial at Epsom. It was a bit of a messy race, they were spread all over the track and he was a bit isolated on the near side. We were very happy with the run, the extra two furlongs should hold no fears, Franny [Norton] is very good around the track and he goes there with a good chance.
Chester good to soft
Newton Abbot soft, heavy in places
Carlisle good, good to soft down the hill (hurdle), good, good to soft in places (chase)
Today's key pointer
Galileo's three-year-old progeny are 6-12 in Group races at Chester since the start of 2007 (+£7.58). Orchestra represents the sire in the 2.45
Pointer courtesy of Raceform Interactive