Orchestra played a winning tune for trainer Aidan O’Brien to land the MBNA Chester Vase by the shortest of margins, a nose, on Boodles Ladies Day at Chester Racecourse this afternoon.
The Galileo colt was always travelling easily for jockey Ryan Moore and taking advantage of the inside rail on the final bend, the partnership emerged in the lead. Drifting to the right cost some ground and provided Romsdal with a clear route to erode the lead resulting in a photo finish in favour of Orchestra.
Speaking for winning connections at Ballydoyle, Kevin Buckley said: “We’re very, very pleased Ryan said he was a bit keen then settled into a nice rhythm, he’s very happy with the horse. He’s a fine big, quality animal with lots of strength and scope.
“The impression we had is there’s something left to work on and we were looking forward to his performance. We like coming to Chester, it’s an important part of the educational process in the Derby campaign.
Betfair shortened Orchestra from 33s into 25s for the Investec Derby at Epsom next month as a result of the colt’s success.
Ryan Moore recorded a quick double aboard Legend Rising in the Boodles Diamond Handicap Stakes with a successful late run. Trainer Martyn Meade said: “The extra furlong suited him today, he’s a nicely balanced horse and it always a bit of risk at Chester. He likes the soft ground and more rain wouldn’t have been a problem for him. It’s great that he’s back and we won’t overdo him.”
Moore, substituting for an injured Paul Hanagan, was back in the winner’s enclosure following a brave performance by the 5-6 favourite Ballymore Castle in the T&L Leasing EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes on only his second career outing. Moore sent the colt through a narrow gap between horses to score by three quarters of a length.
The Betfair Price Rush Huxley Stakes had earlier been run at a furious pace as Ektihaam matched strides with Noble Mission. The front-running tactics paid off for the 9-4 favourite Noble Mission, ridden by James Doyle as they retained a lead and the second horse, Telescope was two and a quarter lengths in arrears crossing the line.
Racing manager for the owner, Khalid Abdullah, Teddy Grimthorpe said: “They went a cracking gallop, this race was more simple than at Sandown. He had to fight to get a lead and was pushed wide by the other horse but he was settled and happy in front. He had a little breather and then kicked on again.”
Action on Boodles Ladies Day commenced with the IG Handicap and following 2mm of rain before racing began, Graham Gibbons who rode the winner, Tres Coronas reported the ground as riding soft. Pace-setter Party Royal faded as the winner accelerated clear by two-lengths.
Part owner Douglas Pryde said: “He’s been a wonderful horse and he’s won eight races now, he’s strident and genuine and from a fast pace he does well. The trainer recommended him to us as a yearling and he’ll decide where to go next.”
Graham Gibbons recorded a double with The Hooded Claw in the Betfair Cash Out Handicap Stakes. Thataboy was the early leader but the field was stacking up in the closing stages. Gibbons said: “He popped out and stuck to his task well,” with the only other serious challenger, Kickboxer, three quarters of a length behind in second.
Racing concluded with the Investec Structured Products Handicap and a brave front-running performance by Stellar Express ridden by Andrew Mullen. The field was three lengths in arrears as the winner crossed the line.
Attendance on Day two of the Boodles May Festival was 17406.