Chester preview: MBNA Chester Vase (15.10)
Trainer Aidan O’Brien has plundered the Chester Vase in recent years, and Hans Holbein can continue his domination by landing this year’s renewal of the Group 3 contest (15.10).
The Ballydoyle handler has won the race five times since 2007, including three of the last four runnings.
In Hans Holbein he has a progressive colt who boasts a similar profile to stablemate Diamondsandrubies who ran away with yesterday’s Cheshire Oaks.
The son of Montjeu was far to weak and immature to do himself justice on his sole start as a juvenile when fourth Gowran Park, but shaped much better on seasonal reappearance when runner-up at Cork.
Like many from the stable, Hans Holbein stepped up significantly for that outing when scoring in good style at Leopardstown last time out.
Hans Holbein made all in the 1m 2f contest to readily beat Valac by 2 1/4 lengths, and had no problems with the soft underfoot conditions.
The way in which he galloped strongly all the way to the line suggested there could be even better to come when stepped up further in trip, so today’s extra two furlongs should hold no fears.
There is also every chance that Hans Holbein will be able to dominate from the front in the hands of Ryan Moore and, if that proves to be the case, he is going to be a tough nut to crack under the best jockey in the business.
Future Empire is the main market rival to Hans Holbein, but the Saeed Bin Suroor trained colt had his limitations exposed last time out when slammed four lengths by Christopermarlowe at Epsom.
The son of New Approach also didn’t apear to handle the track, and I fear that could be again the case at this unique venue which like Epsom often gets horses unbalanced.
For that reason, I feel that Storm The Stars may prove the biggest danger to the selection.
The colt hails from the in-form yard of William Haggas and looked one to keep onside when opening his account in facile fashion over 1m 2f at Leicester 12 days ago.
Storm The Stars took up the running after two furlongs and tanked along at the head of affairs before quickening clear a furlong from home to win easing down by 2 1/4 lengths.
The way in which the son of Sea The Stars put the race to bed was very imnpressive, and he could well have even more to offer now stepped up in trip.