Aidan O’Brien sent out another possible Vodafone Derby candidate as Admiralofthefleet put up an impressive display in the Group Three Aktiv Kapital UK Ltd Dee Stakes at Chester.
Barely 24 hours on from plundering the Chester Vase with Soldier of Fortune, the Ballydoyle handler and jockey Mick Kinane were on the mark again as last year’s Royal Lodge winner staked his Classic claims.
The Danehill colt certainly appeared more impressive than his stablemate a day earlier as he readily put daylight between himself and the rest of the field.
The 7-2 shot led over a furlong out and possessed much more toe than his rivals when going on in good style to see off the green 2-1 favourite Desert Dew by two lengths.
Cashmans and totesport were most impressed and go 12-1 for the Epsom contest next month, with Coral 14s, Ladbrokes 16-1 and Stan James and Blue Square 20-1.
Kinane said: “I wouldn’t say it was the strongest race ever run but he has given them 5lbs and a good beating.
“You would have to say he was more impressive but yesterday’s race was a bit stronger. This was a good performance though.
“I wouldn’t have thought a bit further would be a problem.
“He had a bit up his sleeve and I have no reservations about his stamina as he wasn’t stopping there.”
O’Brien and Kinane were denied a Group-race double as the 2005 Ladbrokes St Leger winner Scorpion was outgunned by Ask in the Blue Square Ormonde Stakes.
The red-hot even-money favourite was having his first start of the year following a curtailed campaign last term and moved up stylishly in the closing stages.
But the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ask quickened again in the hands of Kerrin McEvoy when challenged and forged clear to collect by two lengths at odds of 5-2.
McEvoy said: “He impressed me. It’s the first time I’ve ridden him and he is a stayer but he’s not a slow stayer, that’s for sure, as he picked up.
“Mr Stoute said to just make sure I got him settled and he liked the ground and he acted around the track too.”
Owner Pat Fahey was represented by Simon Christian, who said: “We bought him privately last autumn as Sir Michael said he would like to race him again this summer and that he might win a Group race.
“Where he goes next is down to Sir Michael, but the owner is keen to go to Royal Ascot.”
City Of Tribes cut down his rivals in the final furlong to provide Irish trainer Ger Lyons with his winner on the Roodee in the Edwards Homes Handicap.
Eddie Ahern found himself towards the rear of the field aboard the 9-2 shot after missing the break slightly, but a gap appeared turning for home in the five-furlong dash.
The three-year-old produced a devastating burst of speed to power forward and deny the front-running Morinqua by a short head.
Lyons’ brother Shane said: “There are so few opportunities for him in Ireland so we had to come over here.
“He is a seriously fast horse. He must be to come from behind over five furlongs at Chester, and he broke the track record at Tipperary last year.
“He has loads of entries this season and we will probably go to the King’s Stand, but he will make a lovely four-year-old.”
Dhaular Dhar made a quick reappearance after finishing down the field over the minimum trip yesterday to oblige as the 100-30 favourite in the Warwick International Handicap.
Jim Goldie’s charge was stepping up to seven and a half furlongs on this occasion and found the extra distance to his benefit, with Danny Tudhope bringing him from last to first for a neck success.
Goldie’s son of the same name said: “He has done it well. Danny said he was in trouble for a while as he was bumped coming out of the stalls, but he was never worried.
“He will have a break now and we might bring him back for the Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot.”
Barry Hills saddled his second winner of the three-day meeting as Azeema built on her Newbury debut and justified 7-4 favouritism in the Boodles Cheshire Regiment Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.
Hills said: “She ran well at Newbury and will improve for that.
“She is a nice filly and will get a mile easily. There is plenty of stamina on the dam’s side too, so she should get a mile and a quarter in time.”
Graham Gibbons missed his ride in the closing Manor House Stables LLP Handicap after being found to be “unfit to ride”.
Stipendiary steward Paul Barton said: “He has been signed off by the doctor but as it is a medical matter, I can’t say any more.”
The race went to the Steve Drowne-ridden Stretton (11-2) who defied the renewed challenge of Augustus John to win by a neck.
James O’Reilly was banned for one day (May 22) for misusing his whip aboard fifth-placed Mighty Moon in the same race.