One, two, three in the MBNA Chester Vase on Boodles Ladies Day for O’Brien as Venice Beach coasts to success in Derby trial
Expectations from team Ballydoyle were met with a one, two, three for trainer Aidan O’Brien in the MBNA Chester Vase, centre piece of Boodles Ladies Day at Chester Racecourse today. A steady early pace was set by Donnacha O’Brien aboard The Anvil, with a closely bunched field following. Druids Cross was soon ridden and the O’Brien horses dominated as the runners spread out across the track in the closing stages. Venice Beach galloped clear for jockey Ryan Moor to win by one and a quarter lengths from Wings Of Eagles and The Anvil occupied third place.
“We are delighted. We knew he’d stay a mile and a half but he’s a little bit lazy and we were bringing him here to learn. Ryan was very happy. He handled the ground and should improve. He’ll have learnt a lot, it happens very quickly here,” was the summary provided by O’Brien in relation to his winner and Venice Beach was predicted to be the horse most likely to step up from his run today, at this stage in the Investec Derby trails. Major bookmakers shortened Venice Beach in to 16/1 for the Derby and Wings Of Eagles to 25/1. This win provided the jockey and trainer with a double.
“Smashing! He gave me a good feel and there was no weight on his back. I let him stride on; he’s still a bit green. You’re on the turn all the way round here and they can light up, but he was very good,” was how champion jockey Jim Crowley described his front-running four and a half length win aboard the 10/11 favourite Khairaat in the opening race, the Gateley plc Changing the Legal Landscape Handicap.
Jim Crowley was celebrating a double after landing the Boodles Diamond Handicap aboard Mutawatheb. A final surge in the closing yards enabled the winner to forge ahead and win by one and a quarter lengths. “We had a nice draw and the trainer was confident this morning. I sat in behind the leaders and he picked up well. He was a bit unlucky last time out and he should stay a mile,” explained Crowley.
“I’m delighted. He’s a very versatile horse, he’s professional and straight forward,” explained trainer Aidan O’Brien following a smooth success by the 6/4 favourite Deauville in the Sportingbet.com Huxley Stakes. The four-year-old was warm under the saddle cloth during the preliminaries but set the pace and despite Poet’s World closing on the leader he was still adrift by a neck crossing the line.
Local trainer Tom Dascombe celebrated a one two in the English Fine Cottons EBF Maiden Stakes with Auntie Pam and the Richard Kingscote ridden Dragons Tail who showed a good turn of foot to win by four and a half lengths. Dascombe said: “We didn’t have an obvious Chester horse as we usually do. This horse is clearly going the right way. I think he wants six furlongs and this lad looks quite good.”
Part owner of the winner, Michael Owen added: “It’s really important to the stable; we had four winners at this meeting last year. I’m chuffed today; it’s great for everybody as they work so hard. Chester is our Royal Ascot and the first target of the year.”
The T&L Leasing Handicap resulted the 11/4 favourite Zamjar, ridden by Andrea Atzeni, cross the line in first place. Racing concluded with the Virgin Atlantic Handicap and a three-quarters of a length victory for Storm King, ridden by jockey David Allan.
Once again the inside rail will be moved out by three yards from the six furlong marker to one and a half furlongs for the final day of the meeting, Boodles City Day and provide fresh ground. Attendance today was 17,099 which represents an increase of 2% on the same day last year.