Mickdaam (blue cap) just holds on from the fast-finishing Model PupilPICTURE: getty images
Mickdaam clings on in Chester Vase thriller
Report: Chester, Thursday
MBNA Chester Vase (Group 3) 3yo, 1m4f, colts and geldings
MICKDAAM narrowly held off the flying late challenge of Model Pupil to land the Chester Vase for trainer Richard Fahey and jockey Tony Hamilton.
The pair swept into thelead as the runners hurtled down the home straight and they just held on from the Charlie Hills-trained Model Pupil, who was beaten a nose in second.
The son of Dubawi was subsequently cut to 33-1 (from 50) with Paddy Power for the Investec Derby at Epsom.
David Livingston, ridden by Joseph O'Brien, took the field along in the early stages as Mickdaam tracked him in second.
Model Pupil and Minimise Risk, who both won maidens last time out, were settled nicely at the rear.
O'Brien attempted to kick clear of his four rivals but Mickdaam and Call To Battle were both sent in hot pursuit and the trio were locked together two furlongs out.
Mickdaam, sent off at 8-1, edged into the lead approaching the furlong pole and he looked sure to score well but Model Pupil, who took a while to gather his stride, started to motor down his outside.
Tony Hamilton: high-profile winnerPICTURE: Mark Cranham
The pair crossed the line together but it was Mickdaam, who rejoined Fahey from Mike De Kock last month, who snatched the verdict.
Hamilton said: "He was drawn badly and he tried to duck under the stalls before the start, which was worrying, but he knows how to battle.
"I wanted to make my move earlier and he was pricking his ears up the straight. I heard another horse coming and me and Michael [Hills, rider of Model Pupil] didn't know who'd won.
"He's been everywhere, he spent the winter in Dubai and he handled the ground better than the others. He ran well at Newmarket, which is quite undulating, so I don't see why he wouldn't act round Epsom."
Of the runner-up, Hills said: "He's gutsy. Michael said they stacked up down the back and then when they hit the straight he took a whike to get going, but he was gaining all the way to the line.
"I'm really pleased. He's stepped up to Group class from a maiden and beaten some nice horses."