Day two was Ladies Day and saw Aidan O’Brien continue his dominance of the Chester Vase as Hans Holbein registered a sixth win for the Irish legend in the Epsom Derby trial since 2007. Before the race O’Brien confirmed that promising filly Words will be prepped for Royal Ascot 2015 after a setback ruled her out of the early season Classics. Here is our preview of the big races on day three of the Chester May Festival including the Group 3 Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes.
Betfair Dee Stakes – Listed Race 1m2f
The first big race of the final day of the Chester May Festival is the Dee Stakes, a listed event run over one-mile-two-furlongs. Smugglers Cove heads the market for the in-form team of Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore. The return to this trip looks sure to suit after an underwhelming run in a Group 3 contest over seven furlongs in April, he looks set to be major player. Nafaqa made a good return to action this season when second in a Group 3 at Newmarket, that was over a mile and like Smugglers Cove the return to this trip should help. One concern would be the softer ground which he has yet to encounter in his career. Ed Dunlop’s Prince Gagarin is one who will be suited by the slower conditions, he powered clear in a listed event at Pontefract in October. The trainer has already had a big winner this week and he merits consideration.
As we have mentioned before any runner Aidan O’Brien sends to Chester has to be respected, as does Nafaqa who has good form. But Prince Gagarin represents an in-form stable and his record on slower ground is a big plus.
Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes – Group 3 1m5f
The final group race of the meeting is the Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes, run over one-mile-five-furlongs. The high class Tac De Boistron heads the market at 9/4, as a three-year-old he was a Group One winner and has to concede weight all-round. The drop in trip from two-miles shouldn’t inconvenience Marco Botti’s runner and he will be hard to beat. Big Orange was a listed course and distance in 2014 and followed it up with a win at Ascot, but the slower ground is against him. Clever Cookie has proved a very useful dual-purpose performer, on his final start of last season he finished fourth to Estimate in a Group 2 and that form is rock-solid. He will love the underfoot conditions and his proven stamina may be a big factor.
This looks a very good race, Tac De Boistron brings a lot of good form and high class to the race. He will be very hard to beat but Clever Cookie may be the one to test this Group One winner on this soft ground.