It is 22 years since Shergar won the Chester Vase before going on to Derby glory but, with just four colts running in today's contest, the prospects for the Vase resurrecting its former reputation as a significant trial for Epsom looks doomed. Two of the Vase runners, Dutch Gold and the favourite, Risk Taker, are not even entered in the Derby.
Instead, true Classic clues will be abundant at Leopardstown on Sunday when Alamshar, the leading ante-post fancy for Epsom, is one of 32 entries for the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes.
John Oxx's colt, who finished second to Balestrini in the 10-furlong Ballysax Stakes on the same track on his reappearance, is one of three entries from the Currabeg stable. He also has Alisar and Masandam in the race.
Alamshar could face Bales-trini again here as that colt is one of 15 entries from the Aidan O'Brien yard. The Ballydoyle trainer has also put in Alberto Giacometti (third in the Ballysax), Brian Boru and Some Kind Of Tiger. His strong list of possibles also includes Arundel, Catcher In The Rye, Dalcassian, Delacroix, Fontanes, France, Gianfanti, Handel, Meadow Hawk, Roosevelt and The Great Gatsby.
Dermot Weld is another to have a multiple entry, headed by Saturday's 2,000 Guineas winner, Refuse To Bend, though the Rosewell House trainer is more likely to saddle Evolving Tactics, Faadhil, Miss Nashwan or Prominent Feature.
There are two British-trained entries in the race: Richard Hannon's Tacitus and Mark Johnston's Jebel Suraaj.
A total of 29 fillies have been entered for the Derrinstown Stud Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial. Hannon's Summer Spice is the only British-trained entry while O'Brien again has a strong possible line-up including the 1,000 Guineas disappointments Yesterday and L'ancresse, as well as Shangri La and In The Limelight.
Godolphin, as expected, shun the opportunity to confront Ballydoyle's Epsom troop at this stage and head instead for Saturday's Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield. Both Graikos and New South Wales have been entered in the mile and three furlongs race which is worth a total of £60,000.
Mark Johnston, who won the Lingfield prize last year with Bandari, has entered Shanty Star this time but the trainer warned yesterday that the colt was a doubtful starter due to lameness caused by pulling off a shoe. John Dunlop could run Big Bad Bob. Mark Tompkins's Franklins Gardens and the Barry Hills-trained Gala Sunday, first and second respectively in the Blue Riband Trial Stakes at Epsom last time, could renew rivalry in Surrey.
Sir Michael Stoute has entered Kris Kin while other possibles are completed by Foodbroker Founder, Le Me Try Again, Rainwashed Gold and Titurel.
Lingfield's Oaks Trial has a possible 13 runners. Henry Cecil could run the once-raced Midsummer – a half-sister to 1997 Oaks winner Reams Of Verse and high-class middle distance performer Elmaamul. Clive Brittain could be doubly represented with Heavenly Bay and Helderburg, while Stoute could run Rich Affair, who is a full-sister to the Group Two winner Whitewater Affair.
Choral Chimes, a daughter of Sunday Silence, could run for David Loder, and Gerard Butler could step dual winner La Mouline up in class. Allergy, Ciel, Flying Wanda, Garmoucheh, Santa Sophia, Sindy and Thingmebob complete the entries.
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