May Festival: All eyes on US Army Ranger in Chester Vase
David Metcalf | May 5, 2016
US Army Ranger ready to rock in Chester Vase
US Army Ranger looks a worthy odds-on favourite to land the Group 3 Chester Vase (15.10) on the second day of the May Festival at the Roodee racecourse and cement his position at the head of the ante post betting for Investec Derby.
The Aidan O’Brien trained colt is currently 4/1 joint-favourite with Coral for the Epsom classic following an impressive success on a debut over 1m 2f at the Curragh last month.
After being held-up at the rear early doors, US Army Ranger made relentless progress through the pack to deliver a challenge inside the last and showed a nice turn of foot to score by 3/4 lengths.
The beautifully bred son of Galileo only had to be nudged out by jockey Ryan Moore to score with far more in hand than the winning margin suggests.
Potential to be something special
It was a most taking performance on soft ground which wouldn’t have been ideal, and one which suggested US Army Ranger had the potential to be something very special.
The third home Kellstorm has also come out and won since to give the form a boost, and US Army Ranger will relish the better ground and appreciate the step up to 1m 4f.
His handler also has a tremendous record in the race having won it six times in the last 10 years, including the last three renewals, and US Army Ranger can take this en route to much better things.
High Grounds open to further improvement
US Army Rangers’ stable companion Port Douglas had some smart form as a juvenile and looks sure to go well, but High Grounds could be the one for the forecast.
The Charlie Hills trained colt looked potentially useful when winning by six lengths on debut at Lingfield, and was far from disgraced last time out when third to Midterm in a Group 3 over 1m 2f at Sandown.
Although beaten 9 1/2 lengths, High Ground ran very green on rain softened ground and the winner is a high class prospect who currently shares Derby favouritism with US Army Ranger.
The son of High Chaparral should have learnt plenty from that outing, and it would be no surprise to see him put in a bold show now stepped up in trip on a better surface.