Wednesday 9th May 2018 – 3:35 Chester, 1m 4½f (1m4f63y), Centennial Celebration – MBNA Chester Vase Stakes (Group 3) (Colts & Geldings) (Class 1)(3yo)

The Chester Vase was established in 1907 and was originally open to three- and four-year-old horses. The first running of the race resulted in a dead heat. The race is run over 1 mile and 4½ furlongs and is seen as a trial for The Derby in June. The most famous previous winner of the race was the ill-fated Sir Michael Stoute-trained Shergar in 1981 who went on to win The Derby.

In recent times the Aidan O’Brien trained Ruler Of The World won both races in 2013 and in 2011 Treasure Island finished second in The Derby as did US Army Ranger in 2016. All three trained by the Ballydoyle trainer.

Moving onto the statistics O’Brien-trained runners just cannot be ignored as he has saddled the winner for the last five seasons in a row and a total of eight times in the last 12 seasons. He has three runners this year.

Therefore, it is no surprise that eight of the last 12 winners have gone off as favourite. For those who prefer a bit more value, three of the last 12 winners have won at odds of 25/1, 8/1 and 8/1 respectively.

Winning form is an important factor coming into the race. All 12 of the last 12 winners had won a race of some description on the flat, while 10 of the winners had won at least twice. Horses who won on their previous start are of interest with seven of the last 12 winners fulfilling this criteria. Eleven of the last 12 winners were placed on their previous runs.

Course form is of no relevance with none of the last 12 winners having run at Chester previously, but form over 1 mile 2 furlongs or further is a key factor as six of the last 12 winners had previously won over 10 furlongs or further and 10 winners had run over similar distances.

A recent run is another key factor as nine of the last 12 winners had run earlier in the season, with seven of these winning last time out. A high Official Rating is not a prerequisite with a rating of 93 or higher being good enough to win seven of the last 12 renewals. Unsurprisingly therefore, only one of the last 12 winners had previously won at Group level.

Looking at today’s renewal the best of Aidan O’Brien’s runners looks to be Hunting Horn, but he is passed over in the hope that his run of five consecutive wins will end today. Ispolini, trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin comes into the race having finished runner up in the Group 3 Classic Trial at Sandown 12 days ago with Hunting Horm finishing in third place some 1¼ lengths behind. Isponini was only headed by the winner in the final strides loosing by a short head.

The ground today should suit, and being a Dubawi colt out of a Giants Causeway mare, he should stay the longer trip. He is not as experienced as Hunting Horn, which can be a disadvantage over the very tight turns of Chester. However, he has a nice draw in stall 3 and is open to any amount of improvement.

Please note: tips are followed at your own risk. Please gamble responsibly.  

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