Legendary Irish handler Aidan O’Brien has saddled the winner of the feature Chester Vase in four of the last seven renewals, including with last year’s subsequent Derby winner Ruler Of The World, and the trainer is doubly represented at the Roodeye this afternoon courtesy of Carlo Bugatti, blinkered for the first time, and Orchestra (2.45) and it is the latter (10/3 with BetVictor) who appeals most with Ryan Moore in the plate.
Many of the O’Brien 3-year-olds have improved for a run this term and the selection is making his seasonal debut which is a slight concern but there was much to like about his win at Tipperary when last seen back in August although the runner up has done little for the form and has since been sold out of the O’Brien yard.
The best of the home challenge could be Romsdal who easily landed a Kempton maiden last month, runner up has franked the form, having ran very well on debut at Doncaster although both the winner and second have been beaten since.
Telescope has a bit to prove after what was a disappointing comeback on ground possibly softer than ideal at Sandown and the Huxley Stakes can go to Ektihaam (2.15) who goes well fresh and might be able to get a soft lead if he beats Frankel’s brother Nobel Mission to the first bend.
The latter showed improved form when making all at Sandown (Telescope behind) but the suggestion is he might have been flattered by that success.
It is a concern that Lady Cecil suggested Noble Mission had been working as a lead horse on the gallops and I don’t want to see Ektihaam, who doesn’t have to lead, taking on Noble Mission and possibly Highland Knight in a sustained duel for the lead.
In the opener I expect a bold show from Yeager (1.45) stepping up in trip to 10f having ran on well in a decent Lingfield (polytrack) handicap over a mile on his reappearance. William Buick takes over from Frankie Dettori and the gelding has a decent cruising speed which should enable him to get a good position from stall six and he might have gone quite close in Group 1 company at Arlington back in August, on his only previous try at today’s trip, were it not for meeting interference. The danger could be Marcret whose last two wins have been at Chester but he is more exposed than the selection and has a higher draw to overcome in nine.
Unbeaten Muteela will have her supporters in the 7f handicap for Mark Johnston but she is drawn eight of nine and will do well to get to the lead and preference is for Captain Bob (3.15) who made all at Warwick last time when breaking his maiden and remains potentially well handicapped from a 5lb higher mark.
There is a cracking jumps card at Carlisle this evening where the feature race is the 3m 2f Handicap Chase. Irish raider Hidden Horizons was just outstayed at Perth last time on soft ground over the best part of 4miles but is 5lb higher and this looks a better race. Blenheim Brook did us a favour last time at Haydock but that race fell apart and Lively Baron (7.10) gets the vote having returned to something like his best form when runner up over C&D last time. This better ground holds no fears, AP McCoy takes over and he must run well.