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San Antonio holds off Alder in Dee Stakes battle of the O’Briens

Father beat son in the Boodles Dee Stakes as Aidan O’Brien’s San Antonio repelled the Donnacha O’Brien-trained Alder at Chester.

Alder was the 11-10 favourite for the Listed contest following an impressive start to his season at Cork, with San Antonio sent off at 16-5 following victory on the all-weather at Dundalk.

As is usually the case, Ryan Moore had San Antonio well positioned throughout, allowing his mount to stride to the front while his rivals jostled for position in behind.

Gavin Ryan delivered Alder with a major challenge rounding the home turn, but San Antonio refused to yield in front and passed the post with a length and three-quarters in hand to give O’Brien a 10th victory in the race.

O’Brien said: “Donnacha’s horse ran a stormer having got dropped back in a messy race. But Ryan had his horse in a better position and was able to control the race.

“We were always going to ride him forward. He’s nice and relaxed and was happy to have horses around him, and he found plenty.

“Obviously it looks like he’s adaptable and will get further. Epsom has to be looked at as well as Ascot and France. The lads will decide.”

Betfair and Paddy Power halved the Dubawi colt to 25-1 for the Betfred Derby, for which O’Brien’s 2000 Guineas disappointment Auguste Rodin remains favourite with some firms in company with Arrest and Military Order.

O’Brien added: “We’ve always thought the world of Auguste Rodin as everything came so easily to him. He’s come out of the Guineas well and will go to straight for the Derby.

“With the Lingfield trial now on the all-weather Bertinelli will go there. The horse we would have run at Lingfield (Gooloogong) might go to Epsom and Continuous heads for the Dante at York.”

O’Brien junior has not lost faith in the runner-up.

He said: “The race was a bit of a mess and in ground I didn’t think he would like I actually think he ran very well. He quickened up nicely then just flattened out in that ground, but I was very happy with him.

“We’ll take him home and see how he comes out of it and make a plan then. For sure he could go to one of the Derbys either Epsom or the Curragh or something like that, but we’ll make a plan at a later stage.

“You have very little chance from out back when they go that slow, but that’s racing and that’s Chester.”

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