Hans Holbein leapt into the picture for the Investec Derby when giving trainer Aidan O’Brien a welcome turn of fortunes with an all-the-way success in the MBNA Chester Vase on the Roodee yesterday.
The Ballydoyle handler, winning the Group Three test for a sixth time, had seen several of his potential contenders for the premier Classic, including John F Kennedy, Ol’ Man River and Sir Isaac Newton, fluff their lines so far this season.
Hans Holbein only got his chance as Giovanni Canaletto had to miss this race after a setback and the son of Montjeu grasped it in great style as he comprehensively dispensed with his five rivals.
Ryan Moore bounced the 7-4 favourite out of the stalls and controlled things from the front, powering away to beat Storm The Stars by a length and three-quarters.
Kevin Buckley, the UK representative for owners Coolmore, said: “Ryan was told to ride him positively if there was no pace and he did.
“The horse has not run on that kind of ground before and we were very happy with the way he galloped all the way to the line – Ryan had a job pulling him up.
“That definitely puts him in the Derby picture. He saw the extra two furlongs out really well, as we thought he would.
“The horse is very honest and straightforward. Giovanni Canaletto couldn’t come here. He did and we’re very happy with that.”
Moore said: “He went round here well enough so I don’t see why he wouldn’t act at Epsom.
“It was his third run this year and he’s improved every time.”
Hans Holbein’s odds for Derby at Epsom on June 6 varies with Paddy Power and RaceBets going 20-1, while Coral, Ladbrokes and Betfred went 16-1 with Boylesports being impressed by only offering 10s.
Karar has been supplemented into a provisional field of 19 for the French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp on Sunday.
The Francis-Henri Graffard-trained colt was added to the Classic by owners Al Shaqab Racing at cost of €39,600. After scoring at the first time of asking, the son of Invincible Spirit found only subsequent Newmarket Guineas runner-up Territories too good for him in a Group Three at Longchamp last time out.
Aidan O’Brien is triple handed in the mile event as he aims to lift the prize for the fourth time. The Ballydoyle trainer will be represented by Highland Reel, War Envoy and Dick Whittington as he seeks victory in the race for the first time since 2007.
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