Ruler to measure up in Vase
RULER OF THE WORLD has its Classic credentials examined in today's MBNA Chester Vase, though the regally-bred Ballydoyle colt will have to produce something really exceptional if he is to be considered a legitimate Derby prospect.
A Galileo half-brother to the stable's former top-class 2008 King George hero Duke Of Marmalade, Ryan Moore's mount had to work hard to overhaul Manalapan on its Curragh bow a month ago.
The two-furlong step up in trip to a mile-and-a-half here should suit Ruler Of The World, and it's reasonable to assume that he will come on a bundle from his debut.
Still, there's no denying that it wasn't an especially taking visual performance at the Curragh, and Manalapan's subsequent tame defeat at Gowran Park did little in terms of advertising the form of the race.
As such, it requires a considerable stretch of the imagination to envisage Ruler Of The World emerging from this Group Three as a serious Epsom player, though that is not to say he won't be plenty good enough to land this run-of-the-mill trial.
O'Brien has enjoyed Vase success with Golden Sword and Treasure Beach – narrowly denied by Pour Moi in the premier Classic – as well as with the subsequent Irish Derby winner Soldier Of Fortune.
That trio tackled the Roodee's distinctive turning circuit with an aggregate 14 previous outings, so Ruler Of The World's inexperience is a negative here.
However, three of his four rivals cannot be remotely considered Classic prospects of any description, and the other, John Gosden's Feel Like Dancing, also had to dig deep to get up on its only other run at Newbury last month.
In that context, Ruler Of The World is difficult to oppose today, but the chances of his going on to emulate Shergar and Quest For Fame by achieving Epsom glory on the back of a Vase prep run don't seem all that likely at this stage.
Your Pal Tal might also land a blow for the raiders in the six-furlong three-year-old handicap. Tommy Stack has booked the insatiable Kieren Fallon for the unexposed Dark Angel gelding.
On its reappearance at the all-weather track in February, Your Pal Tal looked in need of the run and was less suited by the seven-furlong trip anyway. He did revert to six at Cork last time, but a line can be drawn through that disappointing turn, as the ground was desperate.
Today, conditions should suit Your Pal Tal ideally, and he has the crucial bonus of being drawn bang on the inside rail at this notoriously draw-biased venue.
In the 10-furlong finale, the consistent Star Links has definite each-way claims from stall three for Cavan-based Shane Donohoe, but the top-weighted Gaul Wood might be a more progressive option.
Representing Michael Owen's in-form local tenant Tom Dascombe, the four-year-old breaks from trap two, and his staying-on second at the course in July of last year is a good recommendation now that he steps up to 10 furlongs from a mile for the first time.