Frankel colt Cunco bids to break new ground for Gosden
MBNA Chester Vase | 1m4½f | ITV4/RUK
There will be a first if one of the three home representatives obliges in the Group 3 MBNA Chester Vase as their trainers have never won this Derby Trial.
Cunco, winner of the Classic Trial at Sandown last time, represents John Gosden, who went closest to breaking his Chester Vase duck when top-notcher Nathaniel was beaten a head by Treasure Beach in 2011.
A son of Frankel, Cunco was far less fancied than stablemate Monarchs Glen on his reappearance, but there appeared no fluke about the way he swept up the Sandown hill to catch Intern on the line.
Although that was just his second win in eight starts, Cunco had some near-misses to his name last year, including when a close third to Churchill in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Although he won at Group 3 level on his return, Cunco incurs no penalty on his first trip to Chester and shapes as if the track will suit.
Gosden said: "He battled hard to win at Sandown and he's come out of that in great shape. The race looks tough with all the Irish representatives but this looks the right race for him and he has no penalty for his win."
Superstar sire Frankel is also represented by Count Octave, whose connections are adamant he will not be disgraced despite previously only winning a maiden at Wolverhampton.
David Redvers, racing manager to Qatar Racing, said: "It's a big ask to step up from a maiden on the all-weather but he won well that day and we think he's a smart horse. He's typical of the Frankels in that the more you ask, the more you get."
The home defence is completed by recent Newmarket maiden winner Tamleek, who bids to carry the blue colours of Godolphin to a first success in the Roodee feature.
The son of Hard Spun got off the mark at the second time of asking when scoring handsomely under Jim Crowley at Newmarket and holds a Derby entry.
Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor said: "He won well at Newmarket and has since worked nicely on the watered gallop. He's ready to go to the next level and we hope he'll run well."