Chester Vase win has Youth Spirit eyeing Epsom Derby challenge

Youth Spirit's surprise victory in the Chester Vase has placed him firmly in the reckoning for a crack at The Epsom Derby in early June.

Youth Spirit's suprise victory in the Chester Vase has placed him firmly in the reckoning for a crack at The Espom Derby in early June.

Andrew Balding's 15/2 shot stole the show, beating the likes of favourite Wirko (6/4) and Frankie Dettori onboard Law Of The Sea.

Wirko cut out much of the running under William Buick, but was a spent force before the home turn, at which stage Fancy Man looked the most likely winner when sweeping to the front.

However, while his effort was ultimately short lived, Youth Spirit - fourth in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket three weeks ago - finished with gusto under Tom Marquand to prevail by a length and three-quarters.

Aidan O'Brien, who had saddled seven of the last nine winners of the Group Three contest, was represented by Craven Stakes sixth Sandhurst who beat Fancy Man to the runner-up spot.

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Bookmakers went 25/1 about Youth Spirit's chance in the premier Classic, and Marquand - sporting the colours of last year's Derby runner-up Khalifa Sat - said: "It's great for Ahmad Al Shaikh to have another one for the Derby because last year that was a fair story with Khalifa Sat finishing second. Hopefully they can go one better.

"Khalifa Sat surprised me in the Derby as he looked more a staying type, whereas this lad is the other way around - 12 furlongs is as far as he'll want."

Balding was represented by his wife, Anna Lisa, who said: "Andrew has always thought a lot of him and today has shown what we wanted to find out.

"I'm sure the owner will be looking forward to a runner in the Derby so I'd be amazed if he didn't show up at Epsom.

"Somebody made me aware the other day that it is 50 years since Mill Reef won the Derby for Kingsclere, which is fantastic, but it will be a little bit quieter this year.

"When Tom got on him he said 'a Camelot round here on soft ground, he'll love it' and he was right. He was a massive price, I couldn't believe it.

"Andrew's record in the Derby isn't great, but he was second and fourth last year."