US Army Ranger has a stern examination of his credentials as an Investec Derby contender when he lines up for the MBNA Chester Vase on the Roodee tomorrow.
The Galileo colt is among six horses for the Group Three over an extended mile and a half, which his trainer Aidan O’Brien has won six times since 2007.
O’Brien wants to put US Army Ranger through the rigours of the sights and sounds of a busy Chester meeting as a crucial part of his education ahead of a tilt at the Epsom Classic.
The handler feels it is necessary for US Army Ranger to have such a tough test of his temperament, as well as his ability, as he only made his racecourse debut a month ago in a 10-furlong maiden at the Curragh which he won cosily by three-quarters of a length. Despite his inexperience, US Army Ranger is only a 4-1 shot for Derby honours.
O’Brien is following the same pattern as he did with Ruler Of The World, who won the same Curragh race on his debut, then the Chester Vase before galloping to glory at Epsom in 2013. US Army Ranger will be accompanied by his stablemate Port Douglas – winner of the Group Two Beresford Stakes at the Curragh and fourth to Marcel in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.
High Grounds, trained by Charlie Hills, and William Haggas’ Dwight D meet again after finishing third and fifth respectively behind Midterm in the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown two weeks ago. Karl Burke’s Midleham Moor raider Biodynamic and the Andrew Balding-trained Ormito complete the field. The latter is the only one of the sextet not to hold a Derby entry.
l The Betfred-sponsored Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield on Saturday has been provisionally switched to the all-weather along with two other races. The turf course beyond the six-furlong start is currently unraceable due to recent rain.
CHESTER: 2.10 What About Carlo, 2.40 Cannock Chase (treble), 3.10 US Army Ranger (next best), 3.45 STORM RISING (NAP), 4.20 Havelock, 4.55 Alsaaden, 5.25 Emirates Airline.
CARLISLE: 5.40 Pekanheim, 6.10 Lowanbehold, 6.40 Eastview Boy, 7.10 Cloudy Copper, 7.40 Quill Art, 8.10 Nortonthorpelegend, 8.40 Daklondike.
NEWTON ABBOT: 2.20 Eamon An Cnoic, 2.50 Maizy Missile, 3.20 Starchitect, 3.55 Bilbrook Blaze, 4.30 Jopaan, 5.05 What A Scorcher, 5.35 Anglingforcharlie.
UTTOXETER: 2.00 Five For Fifteen, 2.30 Ballywilliam, 3.00 Sacre Malta, 3.30 Fight Commander, 4.05 Rock Chick Supremo, 4.40 Beau Traveller, 5.15 Chilli Romance.
WINCANTON: 5.50 Willem, 6.20 Rainy City, 6.50 Caulfields Venture, 7.20 Guaracha, 7.50 Rejaah, 8.20 Man Of God.