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Hattan Has Brittain Dreaming Of Epsom

chester racecourseTrainer Clive Brittain was dreaming of winning a first Vodafone Derby after the rapidly-improving Hattan held off Almighty by half a length to win the Group 3 MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase.

But bookmakers Cashmans dismissed the winner’s chance of Epsom glory with a 100/1 quote for the classic.

“The Derby is one of the few races I have never won and I’d like to win 10 before I retire so I’d better get a move on. They’ll be calling me Aidan Brittain,” joked the trainer. “But (owner) Saeed Manana will speak to Sheikh Mohammed, who is a very good friend of his, and then discuss whether he goes to Epsom. He could go for the Italian Derby, we’ll just see how he comes on from this.

“I think he’s a very useful three-year-old but he’s going to be one hell of a four-year-old. He was a bit like a grounded rat on his first two starts and then showed a little last time. He’s still learning and when he really gets going he’ll find another gear.

“This is the family of Warrsan, Luso, Cloud Castle and Needle Gun and you don’t bully them and in return they’ll give you 110 per cent if you respect them.

“He kept pulling his rugs to bit and was costing me more in rugs than I was getting in training fees so I left him without a rug on through the winter, he was known as the naked chef!”

Runner-up Almighty is another who could head to Epsom and trainer Aidan O’Brien reported: “He ran a lovely race. It was a big step up from his first run and we’re getting there, he has to be on the Derby shortlist now.”

Brian Meehan, who saddled third-placed First Row, said: “I was very pleased with that and he has a big future as there is a lot of improvement to come. He’s still in the Derby and we’ll keep that as an option. He’s a big baby and that was only his fourth run.”

Class 1, Group Three,£65,000 added. For 3yo colts & geldings, 1m 4f 66yds. Weights:8st 10lb. Penalties: a winner of a Group One or Group Two race of 7f or more 4lb. Penalty Values 1st:£37,700; 2nd:£14,300; 3rd:£7,150; 4th:£3,250; 5th:£1,625; 6th:£975

1) HATTAN (Saeed Manana) Clive Brittain 3-8-10 Seb Sanders [2] 11/2
2) ALMIGHTY (Sue Magnier) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-8-10 Kieren Fallon [8] 100/30 Fav
3) FIRST ROW (Joe Allbritton) Brian Meehan 3-8-10 Jimmy Fortune [4] 10/1
4) KALAMKAR (H H Aga Khan) Sir Michael Stoute 3-8-10 Michael Kinane [3]
5) SHANNON SPRINGS (John Grant & A L R Morton) Barry Hills 3-8-10 Michael Hills [6]
6) NIGHT HOUR (Greenbay Stables Ltd) Marcus Tregoning 3-8-10 Martin Dwyer [5]
7) HALLHOO (Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum) Mick Channon 3-8-10 Ted Durcan [7]
8) HEARTHSTEAD WINGS (Hearthstead Homes Ltd) Mark Johnston 3-8-10 Kevin Darley [1]

8 ran
Breeder: Darley Breeding: ch c Halling (USA) - Luana (Shaadi (USA))
Time: 2 min 44.91 sec Dist: .5, nk, .75, 4, .5, nk, 17

Seb Sanders Wins His First MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase

Seb Sanders, the winning jockey on Hattan, said: “To be fair to this horse, if he had jumped out of the stalls at Sandown (last time out when third in the classic trial) then he would have given the winner there something to think about.

“As you saw today, he still hasn’t quite got the knack of coming out of those gates but he is getting quicker.

“Today was the first time that I was able to give him a proper ride. He likes to get a fair bit of room.

“Three and a half furlongs out, I just let Kieren (Fallon on Almighty) know that I was there and going well so he would get moving and it did the trick. Kieren soon got on with it when he knew I was there and I was not forced too wide which was good.

“Let’s hope he is a Derby horse - he doesn’t know he is a racehorse yet.”

MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase Preview

chester racecourseTrainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Kieren Fallon, who teamed up to win both Guineas races at the weekend, bid to continue the purple patch in tomorrow’s Group 3 MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase with Almighty, one of eight declared runners.

The Sadler’s Wells colt, a half-brother to 1998 Arc winner Sagamix, finished fourth of five at Leopardstown when favourite on his seasonal debut on April 10 but the Ballydoyle team has since hit top form so improvement can be expected from this Vodafone Derby entry.

First Row, a 220,000 yearling purchase, broke his duck when winning a Leicester maiden by nine lengths on April 7 and this Vodafone Derby entry will be a first MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase runner for trainer Brian Meehan.

The Mick Channon-trained Hallhoo - who is not entered in the Vodafone Derby - is bidding for a second classic trial victory having landed the Weatherbys Blue Riband Trial at Epsom last month.

There has never been a impressive winner of this event than Shergar, who scored by 12 lengths at Chester before going on to be one of the greatest ever Derby winners in 1981.

His owner the Aga Khan and trainer Sir Michael Stoute are represented this year by the blue-blooded Kalamkar, a Daylami half-brother to Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Kalanisi, who can be expected to improve for his debut fifth in the 10-furlong Museum Maiden Stakes at Newmarket on April 12. Kalamkar is another Vodafone Derby entry.

Newmarket handler Clive Brittain, successful with Dutch Gold in 2003 and Luso eight years earlier, runs another Epsom entry, Hattan, who belied his 50/1 starting price to finish a good third to Fracas in the Betfred Classic Trial at Sandown last month.

The Mark Johnston-trained Hearthstead Wings, who finished third in last season’s Group 1 Gran Criterium at San Siro, was a neck behind Hattan at Sandown and is another with a Vodafone Derby entry.

The Gran Criterium seventh Shannon Springs, trained by Barry Hills, has already advertised his wellbeing this season with a success in a 12-furlong maiden at Newmarket’s Craven Meeting while Marcus Tregoning has his first MBNA Europe Chester Vase runner with Night Hour, who won a Salisbury maiden in September. Shannon Springs and Night Hour are the only two runners not in the Vodafone Derby.

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