Ballydoyle trainer Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore are looking to Venice Beach to grant them a fifth consecutive Chester Vase victory.
O’Brien has a total of seven Chester Vase victories to his name, his first coming in 2007 with subsequent Irish Derby winner Soldier Of Fortune. Moore has taken the reins with six different winners in this Derby Trial, five of those coming for O’Brien.
The pair are the most successful jockey and trainer in the race’s history and will be looking for five wins in a row with Venice Beach, who makes up four of the eight runners trained by O’Brien in this year’s race.
Venice Beach is the bookies current favourite, the three-year-old’s most recent run was an impressive win at Tipperary and he clearly appreciated the step up in trip. The opposition is much stronger this time but he is proven over this distance already and there’s surely improvement left in him.
The rest of O’Brien’s field is made up by Wings Of Eagles, Finn McCool and The Anvil. The latter of which is coming off the back of a maiden winner at Dundalk, where he seemed a class above the opposition and he looks like he could be a different proposition this year.
Aidan’s son Donnacha rode the three-year-old in that win and will be hoping for more of the same in this one. Donnacha has had 10 winners from 61 rides this year and is proving himself to be an important part of the Ballydoyle team.
It’s a family affair for the O’Briens, as his other son Joseph O’Brien is also involved. Joseph is the trainer of outsider Druids Cross and will be looking to get one over his father with the three-year-old.
Druids Cross didn’t was well beaten on his first couple of starts but the colt looked much improved with a win at Dundalk; finishing strongly and running well despite racing keen throughout.
The biggest threat to an O’Brien victory is Frankel’s colt Cunco. The three-year-old is more experienced than most in this race and showed his class with a win in the Sandown Classic Trail a fortnight ago.
He travelled smoothly throughout the race and was produced at just the right time from the back of the field, managing a photo finish victory by the shortest of margins. Frankie Dettori will ride the colt this time out, the last time the pair were united he finished unplaced at Haydock.
The rest of the field is made up by Tamleek and Count Octave, the latter is taking a step up in class after impressing at Wolverhampton, while Tamleek is coming off a dominant win from his maiden at Newmarket.