Wirko expected to relish Chester Vase challenge

Wirko bids to cement his Cazoo Derby claims with victory in the Chester Vase.

Charlie Appleby’s colt is already guaranteed a place in the premier Classic, having made a successful start to his campaign in the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom a fortnight ago – a Listed event which carries automatic qualification for the Epsom showpiece on June 5.

But with the Kingman colt having only run three times to date, Appleby is keen to give him more experience and views Wednesday’s Group Three contest as an ideal stepping-stone to Epsom.

He said: “He’s got his golden ticket to Epsom, but firstly we want to give him some more experience and secondly, we hope the step up to a mile and a half at Chester will see further improvement.

“He did all his best work in the last couple of hundred (yards) at Epsom and he’s a horse who we think, with his pedigree and the way he races, should be suited by a step up in trip.

“He’s by Kingman, but he does have a German pedigree on the dam’s side, so one would hope he’ll be able to handle softer ground.”

Wirko is one of two Godolphin-owned runners along with John and Thady Gosden’s Law Of The Sea, the mount of Frankie Dettori.

The son of Derby hero Golden Horn is two from two this year, most recently impressing in a novice event at Leicester.

Thady Gosden said: “He’s won well on his last two starts, firstly at Kempton and then at Leicester last time.

“He’s a nice horse who has already won over a mile and a half and he should handle the soft ground.

“It’s a tough race, but hopefully he’ll run well.”

Aidan O’Brien at Chester
Aidan O’Brien at Chester (David Davies/PA)

Aidan O’Brien has won the Chester Vase on a record nine occasions and declared three runners for this year’s renewal.

However, with both likely favourite Sir Lamorak and San Martino taken out on account of unsuitable ground, the Ballydoyle handler will rely on Sandhurst, who steps up in distance after after finishing sixth in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket three weeks ago.

Andrew Balding’s Youth Spirit, the Richard Hannon-trained Fancy Man and Pleasant Man from Roger Charlton’s yard complete the line-up.

Wirko is Vase choice for Appleby

Charlie Appleby’s Wirko will put his Derby credentials on the line in the Chester Vase.

The Kingman colt booked himself a golden ticket into the Classic when winning the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom last time out.

He is Appleby’s chosen runner on Wednesday – with stablemates Adayar and Yibir, second and third in Sandown’s Classic Trial, both still possible for the Dee Stakes later in the week.

Aidan O’Brien has declared three in the eight-strong Vase field.

Sir Lamorak looks his first string, based on recent wins at Dundalk and Leopardstown. Sandhurst, sixth in the Craven, and San Martino will also represent Ballydoyle.

Fresh from his 1000 Guineas success, Frankie Dettori is chasing more big-race glory on Law Of The Sea for John and Thady Gosden. The Golden Horn colt has been very impressive the last twice.

Andrew Balding’s Youth Spirit and Richard Hannon’s Fancy Man, fourth and fifth in the Feilden Stakes on their return, take each other on again – while Oisin Murphy rides Pleasant Man for Roger Charlton.

Seven will go to post for the Weatherbys Epassport Cheshire Oaks, headed by Mark Johnston’s Dubai Fountain.

While she may not have the usual profile of a Classic winner, having had seven runs at two, she held her form remarkably well.

Second to 1000 Guineas third Fev Rover in a Listed race at Sandown in July, having won her first two outings, she was also second in the Sweet Solera and the May Hill before running very creditably to be fourth in the Fillies’ Mile on her final start – with Guineas winner Mother Earth just in front of her.

Roger Varian will be represented by the unbeaten Zeyaadah at Chester
Roger Varian will be represented by the unbeaten Zeyaadah at Chester (Mike Egerton/PA)

Roger Varian’s Zeyaadah is unbeaten in three starts to date, including a Listed event which had its form boosted on Sunday at Newmarket by runner-up Mystery Angel.

The Gosdens will be hoping to get some valuable black type into Darlectable You, second on both her outings to date. She is by Dubawi and out of Dar Re Mi, making her a full sister to three-time Group One winner Too Darn Hot.

Ryan Moore has been booked by Donnacha O’Brien to ride Nicest, a debut winner who was fifth in a Group Three on her only other outing.

Aidan O’Brien runs La Joconde, a Frankel filly who is still a maiden after five starts.

Fozzy Stack’s Ahandfulofsummers and Hugo Palmer’s Quenelle D’Or complete the field.