Aidan O’Brien has won nine of the past 14 runnings of the Chester Vase and a sole runner from his Ballydoyle stable in a four-runner field would have been the obvious favorite for this group Three Derby trial for much of the past 20 years.
Charlie Appleby’s Godolphin operation is steadily moving onto O’Brien’s turf, however, and his colt New London (3.10) will be an odds-on shot to extend his unbeaten record to three races on the Roodeye on Wednesday.
New London has posted a useful time without being extended on both of his starts to date and was cut to third-favourite for the Derby after readily seeing off eight opponents in a novice event at Newmarket’s Craven meeting.
He shortened again for the Classic without leaving his box on Tuesday when Reach For The Moon was ruled out of Epsom and while O’Brien’s runner, Changingoftheguard, was a six-length winner at Dundalk last time, he still has something to find with the favorite
Chester 1.30 Star Of Lady M and Ocean Cloud arrive with identical two-from-two records, but Ocean Cloud may have the edge in early pace and could grab a vital lead against the rail.
Newton Abbot 1.50 A small field for this handicap chase but a tricky puzzle all the same as all four runners were below their best last time out. Heritage has a course-and-distance win to his name, however, and has been freshened up since finishing last of three at Hereford in January.
Chester 2.05 A draw in stall two is ideal for front-running Live In The Dream, who was well backed to return to winning form at Sandown last time and duly made all, finishing nearly four lengths clear. He is up 8lb in the weights as a result but the time of the race was strong and suggests that a follow-up is likely.
Chester 2.40 For just the second time in 11 years in a race for three-year-olds, three of the runners in the Cheshire Oaks have a capital “P” on their rating – a sign that they could show unusual improvement from their last outing. All three – Above The Curve, Hello Jumeirah and Night Battle – overcame inexperience, a tricky passage or both to record impressive wins last time. night battle, who was clueless and behind horses for much of her debut at Lingfield last month before flying home up the straight, could be the pick of them at around 4-1.
Chester 3.40 A draw in stall seven is not ideal but Pocket The Profit likes to close from off a strong pace and is a fair price at around 9-2 if Ryan Moore can find a gap when he needs it.