Chester Vase Stakes (Group 3) | 1m4½f | 3yo colts and geldings | ITV4/Sky
Wirko and Law Of The Sea bid to give Godolphin a remarkable first ever victory in this usually informative Derby warm-up which now has an open look to it after the defection of fancied Aidan O'Brien pair Sir Lamorlak and San Martino on Tuesday morning.
If successful, Wirko would also break new ground as the first winner of the Listed Blue Riband Trial at Epsom to follow up on the Roodee, although not that many have tried.
A son of Kingman, Wirko has come from nowhere to take a prominent place in Charlie Appleby's Derby team which also includes Adayar, One Ruler and Hurricane Lane. As he's from German stock and related to the classy staying mare Wild Coco, Wirko should enjoy any ease in the ground at Chester and the step up in trip.
Appleby, who won the Epsom Classic with Masar in 2018, said: "We were delighted with Wirko in the Blue Riband Trial and he looks to have come forward mentally and physically for that run. Racing over a mile and a half should see further improvement on what is hopefully another stepping-stone towards the Derby."
Although he has a bit to find on official figures, Law Of The Sea should not be discounted after his runaway win under a penalty in a 1m4f novice at Leicester last time for John and Thady Gosden.
Although that was on contrasting good to firm ground, Law Of The Sea is from stout stock and may well be doing all his best work at the finish.
What they say
Richard Hannon, trainer of Fancy Man
He's got soft-ground form. I was a little disappointed with his run at Newmarket, but that could've been down to the track. He's a nice colt who, hopefully, will run well with the soft ground likely to help him.
John Gosden, joint-trainer of Law Of The Sea
He's a consistent staying type who won well at Leicester last time and should be doing his best work at the finish. The ground will be a bit softer this time around, but if he handles it he should run a nice race.
Roger Charlton, trainer of Pleasant Man
He should enjoy the ground much more than he did at Windsor on his seasonal return where he ran as if he needed the race. He needs to step up on that, but he's got a chance if he runs like he did in the Royal Lodge Stakes.
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Sandhurst
Sandhurst is stepping up in trip and we think that'll be a help to him.