Orchestra hits right notes ahead of Epsom Challenge

Ballymore Castle ridden by Paul Hanagan wins The T&L Leasing EBF Maiden Stakes, during day two of the 2014 Boodles May Festival at Chester Racecourse.

Ballymore Castle ridden by Paul Hanagan wins The T&L Leasing EBF Maiden Stakes, during day two of the 2014 Boodles May Festival at Chester Racecourse.

First published in Sport

ORCHESTRA followed in the hoofprints of subsequent Epsom hero Ruler Of The World by winning the MBNA Chester Vase.

The Galileo colt did not bowl over the Roodee masses in quite the same manner as his six-length-winning stablemate did 12 months ago, but Ryan Moore's post-race appraisal could be revealing.

Moore seldom allows hyperbole to mask realism, but the jockey was clearly most taken with Orchestra, who was halved by some bookmakers to around the 20-1 mark for the Investec Derby on June 7.

The Ballydoyle inmate appeared set to easily claim the Group Three over an extended mile and a half as he breezed into the lead two furlongs out once a perfect gap appeared on the rail.

But the 3-1 favourite suddenly found himself in a slightly compromising position as the John Gosden-trained Romsdal arrived late and fast under William Buick.

It took a photo-finish to separate the protagonists, with Orchestra taking top honours by a nose to give trainer Aidan O'Brien a fifth Chester Vase success in the last eight years

Scotland stayed on for third, another eight lengths in arrears.

Moore, who later rode two other winners on the card, said: "It was a perfect trip but I was on the best horse.

"I was trying to be nice to him. He's a lovely horse. He travelled around beautifully.

"He's a big, strong horse and it's only his third ever run.

"The ground was probably a bit too loose for him.

"They think a bit of the second and third, so hopefully it will be (a strong race)."

Kevin Buckley, Coolmore's UK representative, feels there should be more to come from Orchestra.

He said: "Aidan probably left a little bit of work on him. It was was only his third start and we were very happy with way he went around Chester."

Noble Mission earlier upheld Sandown form with Telescope to win the Group Three Betfair Price Rush Huxley Stakes.

Lady Cecil's reformed five-year-old readily defeated Telescope at the Esher track a fortnight ago, and further underscored his dominance over that rival.

The keen-travelling Ektihaam and Noble Mission, a brother to the great Frankel, jostled for the lead from the outset, with the 9-4 favourite eventually winning that protracted battle.

Telescope joined in at the top of the home bend, but he could not respond to the winner's fleet-footed burst of energy and was two and a quarter lengths down at the line.

James Doyle, whose companion was carrying a 3lb penalty, said: "He has been called names, and all the rest of it, but it's hard to fault him there."

Royal Ascot is now the next likely port of call for Noble Mission.

Lady Cecil said: "He's remarkably consistent. I think he's probably got an unfair reputation.

"He's in the Hardwicke and it's always nice to have a runner at Royal Ascot. It's not for certain, but that will probably be his next target.

"He deserves a bit of a break."

Telescope is again likely to renew rivalry with Noble Mission at the Royal fixture.

Legend Rising fended off the resilient Captain Bob to take the Boodles Diamond Handicap.

The 6-1 chance was making just his second start for Newmarket trainer Martyn Meade, who said: "I think, actually, he likes soft ground and the softer the better."

There was drama before the race as likely favourite Muteela was withdrawn when she ditched Paul Hanagan heading towards the start.

Hanagan was stood down for the day but was not thought to have suffered any serious injuries.

The jockey was replaced by Moore aboard Ballymore Castle, who just about vindicated 5-6 favouritism in the T&L Leasing EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes.

Moore bisected the respective challenge of Hell Of A Lord and London Life at the death to score by three-quarters of a length and bring up the three-timer.

Winning trainer Richard Fahey said: "Ryan said he got knocked over coming out of the stalls and he was struggling.

"We'll probably step him up to six furlongs but I'll talk to the owner."

David Barron's Tres Coronas (11-2) relished the soft ground to easily claim the opening IG Handicap and win at the May meeting for a second consecutive year.

Joint-owner Douglas Pryde, who was also responsible for the now-retired Grand National hero Auroras Encore, said: "He has to come through the pack, and sometimes he doesn't get the breaks, but he does well off a fast pace at Chester."

Tres Coronas was ridden by Graham Gibbons, who doubled up aboard The Hooded Claw (6-1) in the Betfair Cash Out Handicap.

Game mare Stellar Express (7-1) won for the third time in six visits to Chester with an all-the-way triumph in the concluding Investec Structured Products Handicap.

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