Young Rascal breaks O'Brien's Vase run
William Haggas broke Aidan O'Brien's five-year stranglehold on the Chester Vase yesterday when Young Rascal overcame inexperience to win this Derby trial by half-a-length from Dee Ex Bee.
Whether the Intello colt, bred by Mrs André Fabre, can break O'Brien's stranglehold on the Derby is another matter, but he stays and will have learned a lot from this experience. He is as short as 10/1 for the Epsom showpiece.
There he will be the first runner in the race for Investec's co-founder Bernard Kantor, the driving force behind the company's sponsorship of the Derby. The winning margin may not have been much to shout about in a bunch finish, but James Doyle had to extricate himself from a tricky position, switch, and then persuade Young Rascal to go through a gap.
"It's why we came - to get two races in one," explained Haggas. "A few things went against him and he's fully entitled to start at Epsom. He was a slow learner at two then won a maiden at Newbury in April. The (Derby) favourite (Saxon Warrior) looked impressive at Newmarket. If you're going to provide a shock you have to stay. It's about time we had another Derby horse - it's a long time since 1996 (Shaamit). We've not had many runners."
O'Brien and Ryan Moore did have the consolation of Magic Wand (3/1 favourite) shedding her maiden tag in the Cheshire Oaks. One of three runners for the Ballydoyle team, Moore made every post a winning one.
O'Brien's second string Forever Together took the runner-up spot after suffering a troubled passage, with Princess Yaiza taking third for Gavin Cromwell.
Haggas, meanwhile could add a second string to his Derby bow today as My Lord And Master looks the one to beat in the Dee Stakes (Chester, 2.25).
Danny Tudhope's mount beat Young Rascal by six lengths at Nottingham last year and was second in Epsom's Blue Riband Trial, beaten a head by a canny ride from Frankie Dettori on Crossed Baton. O'Brien's Rostropovich looks the main danger.