Azmeel Dee-light for flying Dettori

FRANKIE Dettori treated Chester racegoers to a flying dismount yesterday after boosting the prospects of his probable Investec Derby mount, Chabal, with victory aboard Azmeel in the Addleshaw Goddard Dee Stakes.

The two blue riband possibles were separated by a little over two lengths at Sandown last month when clashing in the Classic Trial.

Dettori and Chabal won the argument that day from William Buick aboard Azmeel – a ride which incurred the latter a suspension which caused him to miss the final day of the May meeting on the Roodee.

Although suffering a rough passage around the tight track, 7-2 chance Azmeel squeezed through between runners before the sprint for the line and put half a length between himself and French Derby-bound Dancing David.

Oath and Kris Kin have in recent years gone on to complete the Dee Stakes-Derby double, and Coral and Boylesports slashed Azmeel to 16-1 for the June 5 Classic.

Sky Bet were less impressed, and left him unchanged at 25-1, with Paddy Power standing their ground at 33s.

Winning trainer John Gosden said: “I think we were beaten fair and square at Sandown, but he did get tired in the last furlong there.

“He went to Sandown about 80%. He’s come here at 95% today and, with a bit of luck, I might have him spot-on by the first week of June.

“He’s come here and handled Chester well and, from that point of view, there’s no reason we shouldn’t go to Epsom if the owner wants to go there.”

Dettori added: “It is obviously a good boost for Chabal. He runs in the Dante next week and everyone knows that is the best Derby trial.

“I was delighted. Chabal beat him at Sandown and obviously the form is rock-solid.”

Harbinger appeared back to his best at Newbury last month and Sir Michael Stoute’s charge stepped up again to oblige as the 8-13 favourite in the Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes.

The four-year-old’s form tailed off last autumn, but a procedure on his palate has worked wonders.

Ryan Moore allowed the market leader to stride on over a furlong out and the pair were ready winners from Aidan O’Brien’s Age Of Aquarius.

Stoute said: “He won his maiden here so we knew he would handle the track.

“The plan was to come here and then go to the Hardwicke.

“He had some corrective surgery on his palate over the winter and that has put him back on track.”

Harry Herbert, spokesman for Harbinger’s owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, added: “He has got an Arc entry so the dream is still alive.

“He will go to Royal Ascot for the Hardwicke and we will see what happens there, but he will probably go back into Group One company later in the year.”

Moore and Stoute again joined forces in the highstreetvouchers.com Maiden Fillies’ Stakes to complete a short-priced double with Nell Gwyn fourth Safina striking by a length as the 8-13 favourite.

Stoute said: “That was a workmanlike performance, but she is a promising young filly.

“She has only had three starts so I hope she will improve, although she will need to.”

Stoute and Moore put the seal on a superb afternoon when bringing up the treble with Jedi (5-2 favourite) in the concluding Cruise Nightspot Handicap.

The May meeting would not be complete without a visit to the winner’s enclosure from Alan Bailey, whose Autumn Blades caused a 25-1 upset in the Sl Investment Management Earl Grosvenor Handicap.

Bailey said: “I said at the beginning of the week that he was my best bet of the meeting. “He used to be a villain, but round these bends he didn’t know where he was going.”

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