Thursday 22 March 2018

US Army Ranger set to target Chester

Aidan O’Brien trains US Army Ranger. Photo: Sportsfile
Aidan O’Brien trains US Army Ranger. Photo: Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Aidan O'Brien expects US Army Ranger to learn some valuable lessons when he tackles Thursday's MBNA Chester Vase on the Roodee.

The Galileo colt is certainly bred to win a Classic as a son of Irish Oaks victor Moonstone and he made quite a splash in the Investec Derby market when winning on his debut at the Curragh last month.

US Army Ranger is due to tackle the Chester feature as part of his preparation and O'Brien believes it will be a steep learning curve for his charge.

"He won a slow-motion race here (at the Curragh) about a month ago, but it's not going to be slow motion at Chester," said O'Brien.

"He will be very green and will learn a lot from the experience. The timing fits in nicely between his first run and Epsom."

US Army Ranger is also entered in Saturday's Betfred Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield along with Beacon Rock, Cook Islands, Idaho, Kellstorm, Landofhopeandglory and Shogun. However, O'Brien is planning to send Cook Islands and Idaho elsewhere.

Outlining running plans, O'Brien said: "Cook Islands is likely to go for the race on Friday (Betdaq Dee Stakes at Chester) and I'll try to find something for Lingfield. I've a few in at Leopardstown (Derrinstown Derby Trial) and Idaho is the most likely to run there."

The master of Ballydoyle is also eyeing further Classic glory with the French Guineas on May 15 under the microscope.

He added: "The Gurkha could be going to France (for the 2,000 Guineas) and Alice Springs might go for the fillies' race."

Ruby Walsh is sitting out tonight's meeting at Ballinrobe, where the featured race is the Treacy's Pharmacies Handicap Chase in which three runners will be bidding to follow up last-start successes.

Owennacurra Milan struck on his first attempt over fences at Clonmel, Follow The Swallow boxed on well to score at Thurles, while King Blue gained reward for his consistency at Limerick last time.

All have claims, though Westerner Point followed up a Wexford win with a good second at Fairyhouse last time and could be tough to beat.

The Mulholland Bookmakers Hurdle should be a lively affair, with Edward O'Grady's All Souls taken to get the better of Gambling Girl and Fire in Soul.

Irish Independent

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