Charismatic owner Dr Marwan Koukash states every year that the StanJames.com Chester Cup is his “Derby” and he knew from some way out he would be adding a third title to his collection as Suegioo swooped late to deny Angel Gabrial for a Koukash one-two on the Roodee.
Koukash struck 12 months ago with the Richard Fahey-trained Address Unknown and the same combination looked like teaming up again as Angel Gabrial made a startling move from last to first under Jamie Spencer and kicked clear in the straight. However, Ryan Moore had just been waiting for a gap on Marco Botti’s Suegioo and he quickened as if he would go away to win in style. Angel Gabrial drifted off the rail, though, hampering Suegioo and taking him quite violently across the track.
The manoeuvre earned Spencer a four-day suspension, but Suegioo (10-1) was still strong enough to win by half a length. The well-backed pair of Communicator and Mubaraza took minor honours.
Andrew Balding’s horse Scotland can state a belated case for the Investec Derby at Epsom by winning the MBNA Chester Vase today. Trainer Balding, who along with jockey David Probert enjoyed a double in the last two races at Chester yesterday (Swan Song and Storm Force Ten), adores this son of Monsun, who looks well capable of making a seamless transition up to a mile and a half for this Group Three. The colt is sure to have his detractors, such was his rather one-paced effort upon his return to action at Newbury last month. Scotland finished over six lengths adrift of Western Hymn in a hot conditions stakes over a mile and a quarter, but connections had warned he was badly in need of a run to blow away the cobwebs.
Meanwhile, Baileys Concerto was an impressive winner of the Betfair Scottish Chase Series Final Handicap Chase at Kelso yesterday.
Ridden by Brian Hughes for Cumbrian trainer Dianne Sayer, the eight-year-old was always travelling strongly on his way to beating front-running Fiddlers Reel by a comfortable seven lengths.
The gelding has now won three times since joining current connections from Venetia Williams. Hughes had earlier initiated a double on Harris Hawk, a 17-length winner for John Wad in the 3m 2f chase. Nicky Henderson interrupted his salmon ﬁshing session on the nearby River Tweed to saddle opening race winner Master Of The Game who nailed Runswick Royal to score by a short-head.
With some three hours before Nicolas Chauvin ran in the bumper, Henderson returned to his rod and line but was back in time to see his 10-11 favourite ﬁnish third to well-backed 11-4 chance Doktor Glaz representing the Rose Dobbin/Wilson Renwick combination.
Nicky Richards opened his account for the new campaign when veteran pilot Brian Harding got Winter Alchemy up in the closing stages of the Christine Clow Celebration Selling Handicap Chase.