Chester Preview: Cheshire Oaks (14.40)
Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has a tremendous record in the Cheshire Oaks, and Diamondsandrubies can further enhance it with victory in the 1m 3f Listed contest at Chester today (14.40).
The Ballydoyle handler has won the race three times since 2008, and in Diamondsandrubies has a lightly-raced and progressive filly.
Diamondsandrubies got off the mark at the second time of asking when staying on strongly from off the pace to beat Chinese Light in a 1m 1f maiden at Tipperary, and then put in an improved display nine days later to come third in a 1m 2f Listed contest at Navan.
The daughter of Fastnet Rock kept on to be beaten two lengths by Bocca Baciata, and the winner had some very smart form to her name as a juvenile.
It was an effort which suggested this afternoon’s trip would be right up Diamondsandrubies street, and with Ryan Moore doing the steering she can take another step forward to land the spoils in what doesn’t look a strong renewal on paper.
Victoria Pollard looked a useful prospect when making a winning debut at Newbury last month, but the form of the race doesn’t have a strong look to it.
The first four home finished in a heap, and the runner-up Stubbins have since been turend over at odds-on in a Beverley maiden.
To me that suggests Victoria Pollard will have to step up significantly if she is to lower the colours of Diamondsandrubies.
A bigger danger to the selection could well be Banzari.
The Michael Bell trained filly finished runner-up on her debut, and was then pitched into the deep end and far from disgraced when fifth to Agnes Stewart in the Group 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster.
Banzari went on to round off her juvenile campaign with an impressive 10 length romp in a 1m maiden at Nottingham, and she has the scope to do even better as a three-year-old.
The daughter of Motivator also handles cut in the ground and, with Jamie Spencer in the saddle, a big run looks on the cards if Banzari is ready to roll on her first start for 203 days.