King of the Dee
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Barry Cronin/PA Wire
11/4 joint favourite Kingfisher gave Aidan O’Brien a fifth victory in Chester’s Dee Stakes, coming late and fast under trainer’s son Joseph to beat off Mark Johnston’s Bow Creek.
The Derby trial had been downgraded to Listed status this season but that did not deter O’Brien from sending another two of his Derby contenders to line up in the race which he took last season with Magician, with impressive Curragh maiden winner Century joining the eventual winner in the seven runner contest.
Zampa Manos and Bow Creek were the first pair to show as the field broke from the gates, but to the frustration of some of the runners, particularly the Ryan Moore ridden Century, they would set a very dawdling pace in the early stages. Eventually Jamie Spencer made a move around the outside on Randwick in an attempt to inject some pace, which in turn made the leaders kick on and ultimately catching Kingfisher and Century on their toes.
Bow Creek still headed the field turning for home but Joseph had galvanised Kingfisher’s challenge and having gotten him into a roll, they eventually reeled in the leader to score by a length.
“We went very slow early and Jamie (Spencer) came and quickened it and caught us on our our toes,” the winning jockey said. “He will improve on better ground and stepping up in trip, as he stays well. Things didn’t go right for him today and he still got away with it. I think he is a lovely horse.”
Kevin Buckley, UK representative for Coolmore, added: “Joseph was delighted with the way he stayed on to the line, especially having gone so slow early on.”
The winner was given a quote of 33/1 for the Derby in the aftermath.
Of the disappointing Century, who had also disappointed in the Racing Post Trophy at the end of last season, Buckley said: “Looking at Century’s last race which was very disappointing but it may have come a bit quick after his impressive maiden win. We wanted to come and see how he would go and we are actually quite pleased. Ryan was very happy with the way he finished off the race to finish fourth, especially in this ground which was not ideal.”
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