Cliffs Of Moher comes through tough battle to win the Dee Stakes at Chester
Aidan O'Brien continued his domination of Derby trials as Ryan Moore got Cliffs Of Moher (4-5 favourite) home in the Homeserve Dee Stakes, beating Bay Of Poets.
Cliffs Of Moher gave Aidan O'Brien a sixth victory in the Homeserve Dee Stakes at Chester with a workmanlike performance in the Listed contest over an extended mile and a quarter.
The Galileo colt, having his first race for 195 days, was given a stern test by the pace-setting Max Zorin.
Ryan Moore had Cliffs Of Moher well positioned just behind the leader, but it took some time for him to overhaul Max Zorin.
The 4-5 favourite got on top in the final furlong to score by a length and half from the staying-on Bay Of Poets. Max Zorin was three-quarters of a length back in third place, with the inexperienced Mirage Dancer coming home well in fourth.
Moore said: "He just raced a bit sleepy the whole way really. He came out a little bit slow, the tempo wasn't strong and he was able to sit second, but he was always just having a look around.
"It was his first run of the year and he just felt a bit rusty, but I'd be very happy with him. It's loose ground and it's not ideal for him, to be fair."
Paul Smith, son of part-owner Derrick Smith, said: "Aidan said that he was just ready to start today and he'd really come on a lot for the run. Ryan thought that too and he was very happy with him.
"I think Aidan and the boys will sit down next week after the trials and make a plan and decide which way they're going to go."
Charlie Appleby was thrilled with Bay Of Poets and has not ruled out the possibility of him being supplemented for Epsom.
"I'm obviously delighted. It was a step forward again from Epsom. He' not in any of the Derbys, he's not got any big, lofty entries, but he's a horse that's putting his profile up now," he said.
"We will have to discuss with His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed) and John Ferguson what we are going to do with him in the foreseeable future.
"We'll probably all sit tight until the Dante is run next week and then we will start to get a clearer picture. We all know there is only one Derby, but we will also have in the back of our mind that we've got Ascot coming up soon afterwards.
"I wouldn't say the Derby was out of the question, but we will wait until after the Dante and then start to make some decisions."