Contributor has class to pull rabbit out of the hat
THE Ryan Moore-ridden Magician is the latest of Aidan O'Brien's three-year-old division to go on trial at Chester in the Dee Stakes this afternoon.
Similar to Ruler Of The World yesterday, the Galileo colt has a bit to prove if he is to be considered a legitimate contender for the Epsom Derby, having only got off the mark at the third attempt in heavy ground at the Curragh last October.
Already held when eased after getting squeezed at Leopardstown behind Big Break in the Killavullan Stakes on his only subsequent outing, he is not what you could describe as remotely precocious at this point.
Magician might yet prove good enough for this Group Three, which has gone to similarly limited Ballydoyle representatives on three occasions since 2005.
However, it is not a bad edition of the 10-furlong contest, and Contributor might be the best horse in the race.
Ed Dunlop's son of High Chaparral is a product of Norman Williamson's Oak Tree Farm in Athboy.
He broke his maiden at lowly Wolverhampton in November, but really caught the eye when staying on strongly to take a conditions race on his Newbury reappearance in April.
Just how good the son of High Chaparral is remains to be seen, but the suspicion is that he will be smart enough to come home in front here under the excellent Graham Lee.
Oliver Brady's busy Castleblaney yard is pitched in against the might of Ballydoyle in the Ormonde Stakes, with his Gowran Park maiden runner-up Zafarqand due to encounter last year's winner Memphis Tennessee.
Fourth in the Epsom Derby before finishing third in the Irish equivalent two years ago, Memphis Tennessee failed to figure on his only other start at Ascot in 2012, but you couldn't look beyond him and Moore in this modest renewal.
Of the four raiders on duty in the various handicaps, only Seanie has been dealt a favourable draw in the opener.
David Marnane's four-year-old has become frustrating, but he will be happier on this slightly better surface than when finishing seventh on his Curragh return last month.
If he breaks well from stall four under Lee, he could have a big say.