Arrest and Dettori capture stylish Chester Vase victory
Frankie Dettori can “dream a little bit” after making his final ride at Chester’s May Festival a winning one as Arrest became the new favourite for the Betfred Derby with a clear-cut success in the Boodles Chester Vase.
Six years ago the Italian guided Enable to Cheshire Oaks victory on this card en route to Epsom, and the Surrey Downs looks the next port of call for John and Thady Gosden’s son of Frankel – although there is likely to be a ground caveat to his participation.
A promising performer at two, Arrest finished his juvenile campaign by finishing second to Dubai Mile in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud in October and was sent off the 10-11 favourite for his return in this Roodee Group Three.
The Juddmonte-owned colt travelled keenly in the early stages, with Dettori eager not to stride too far forward and eyeball race-leader Hadrianus. But the 52-year-old could not disappoint his mount any longer as the three-furlong pole approached and when letting his mount stride on, the response was immediate.
Arrest soon cut a lone figure rounding the home bend as Ryan Moore aboard second-favourite Adelaide River and Franny Norton gave chase in vain – Dettori even having time to angle his mount towards the near-side rail in search of better ground as horse and jockey sauntered home to a six-and-a-half-length success.
Dettori could now have the ideal mount to go in search of a third victory in the premier Classic on June 3 and following Arrest’s Chester success, both Paddy Power and Betfair made him their 4-1 favourite from 10s, while Coral are 6-1.
Gosden senior said: “He handled conditions well and the trainer had him fitter than he thought he did.
“Frankie was anxious to stay on the fresh ground, so you’ll notice he stayed a bit wide and in the straight he nearly took out the grandstand!
“He’s a delightful colt, he’s gone and won well over the trip. It was the full mile and a half today and we’ll leave all options open for Epsom.
“I think he enjoyed the ground and if Epsom was fast I don’t think he’d enjoy that sort of surface. That’s what the jockey felt, but there’s no reason why he won’t be in the Derby at this stage.
“He’s different to a Golden Horn and others I have had. He’s done nothing but mature and improve.
“I was impressed with the horse that beat him at Saint-Cloud (Dubai Mile), he ran the best Derby trial in the Guineas (finished fifth), so right now they’re two horses that deserve to be right up near the top of the betting (for the Derby).
“We put him in the Arc on Tuesday. He’s got the scope to train on at three, and four and five. Enable raced until she was six.”
He added: “Frankie is in great form, he’s enjoying his racing and enjoying his last year in Europe and I think he’ll dabble in America again as well.
“He’s won a 2000 Guineas and a Chester Vase, he’s won an Italian Guineas and he won the Dubai Turf for us, which probably helped the piggy bank.”
Dettori said: “He won very easily, it’s very hard to judge horses on this ground and to know the quality of the field but he can only win by a good margin.
“He’s a good size, he’s going places. We know he stays well and doesn’t mind the ground. What I beat, I don’t know.
“We liked him as a two-year-old, but he was very weak. He’s strengthened up and we knew the ground was no problem and the distance was no problem.
“The race fell apart three out, but he couldn’t have won any easier.
“I spoke to John and the Juddmonte team and he’s not a horse you would want to run on good to firm ground around Epsom, but last year we had a soft ground Derby so you don’t know.
“He’s got alternatives and if I had to be suspicious, because he’s so big he might find it (fast ground at Epsom) a bit of a challenge.
“Who knows what the weather is going to be like? The pluses are he’s a stronger horse who stays really well, this is a good trial and he doesn’t lack pace, so he ticks a lot of the boxes.
“For my last ride at Chester to win is great and at least I can dream a little bit of a Derby ride.”
Juddmonte’s Barry Mahon said: “We’re over the moon, that was great. It (this race) was sort of Plan C, but at least it’s worked out and he’s won and won in good style, that’s the main thing.
“It’s early days, we’ll wait and see how he comes out of this and see what the ground is like.
“We’ll see what way the Derby develops in the next couple of weeks. There’s a good trial in York next week (Dante Stakes), so we’ll see what happens there.
“We’re in a nice position in that he’s in everywhere, he’s won his trial and he’s fit so we can pick and choose where we want to go.
“It was great to see Frankie win the Guineas for us (with Chaldean) and if we could give him his last ride in the Derby we’d be very, very happy.”