Panama can crack the Vase: Racing

If the Romans who built Chester ever raced horses on the Roodeye, you can be sure that someone was forever complaining that the big race on the first day of the May meeting was a lousy pointer to forthcoming events at Londinium and Eboracum. A similar charge will no doubt be levelled against the Chester Vase today, as pundits with a persistent grudge against the track's unique contours remind us that no Vase winner has gone on to win the Derby since Shergar in 1981. Those with a more broad-minded view of the future, however, will pay close attention to its outcome.

It may not be wise to adjust ante-post interest in the Derby too dramatically after today's feature (and with Entrepreneur, the 2,000 Guineas winner, now at odds-on with Ladbrokes, the premier Classic appears something of a formality). Statistically, though, at least one of today's runners is likely to develop into a Group One winner, as the list of horses which have competed here in the last 10 years indicates. Old Vic, Belmez, Quest For Fame (who did win the Derby), Moonax, Toulon and Luso have run in the Vase and gone on to record victories at the highest level, and two of today's runners - Panama City and Ghataas - are sufficiently unexposed to be capable of almost anything between now and the autumn.

Ghataas was second to Poteen - third in the 2,000 Guineas - on his only start as a juvenile, and broke his maiden last month with more ease than a half-length margin suggests. Yet it is Panama City (next best 3.10) who should prevail today, and not simply because he carries the green and blue silks of Robert Sangster, who looks on this as his local meeting - he is a resident of the Isle of Man - and likes his trainers to prepare his horses accordingly. Peter Chapple-Hyam's colt has just a single maiden win to his name, but he was runner-up both in the Group One Gran Criterium in Milan and the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket's Craven meeting, a race won by Fahris in a useful time. It is form which should give him the edge as the field hits this short home straight.

Aside from following Sangster and his principal trainers, Barry Hills and Chapple-Hyam, the other traditional pursuit of punters on the Roodeye is to pore over the draw, a vital consideration on a track which is basically just one big bend. In particular, they look for a favourite in a wide stall in a race with a decent alternative drawn between three and eight, near enough to the rail to get a good position but not so close that a slow start will remove all hope.

It seems unlikely that any horse all week - perhaps all season - will fit the first requirement more completely than Break The Rules, who is the morning-line favourite for the Walker Smith & Way Handicap but will be closer to the River Dee than the running rail as he leaves stall 17. Rockforce, another with a major form chance, is next door in 16, and both must be taken on with GAME PLOY (nap 3.40), who makes his seasonal debut but improved throughout last year and is a previous winner over course and distance. The remaining televised events are both maidens and difficult to call, though Solo Mio (2.40) must go close.

Assuming that Entrepreneur remains sound, there will be few major upheavals in the Derby market between now and 7 June, but the same seems unlikely to be true of ante-post betting on the Oaks. Two of Henry Cecil's leading candidates for the fillies' Classic, Fascinating Rhythm and Fiji, were announced as doubtful runners yesterday, while another, Jean Lesbordes' Mousse Glacee, was also the subject of disturbing rumours, although these proved harder to substantiate. Mousse Glacee is due to run this weekend and future plans should then become clearer, but Cecil's Oaks challenge seems sure to be restricted to Reams Of Verse, sixth in the 1,000 Guineas, and Yashmak, 14th of 15 runners in the same race.

"Both Fascinating Rhythm and Fiji have lung infections and are being treated," Cecil said. "I don't know how long it will take them to recover completely. It looks unlikely that they will be able to run in the Oaks, but they are not definite not to run. I want Reams Of Verse and Yashmak to run in one of the Oaks trials, they are fine after the Guineas, though Yashmak was very disappointing. I think the trip was too short for Reams Of Verse."

Reams Of Verse is 8-1 from 12-1 for the Oaks with William Hill, who continued to offer prices on the race through the series of stories and rumours, unlike some other firms, who preferred to suspend their betting until the going was safer.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?