05/10/2012 2:56PM

Chester: Mickdaam wins Chester Vase


Mickdaam won the Group 3 Chester Vase on Thursday in England by a nose, but his victory barely registered in ante-post betting for the Epsom Derby.

The general sense is that 3-year-olds in Europe this season – particularly in England – aren’t an especially inspiring group. Camelot was the big Derby favorite even before his winning 2012 debut last weekend in the English 2000 Guineas, and with most of racing’s overseas chattering class anticipating improvement from Camelot when he stretches out to 1 1/2 miles in the Derby, he is an odds-on favorite with many betting houses in ante-post Derby wagering.

Mickdaam, on the other hand, can be had at Derby odds ranging from 25-1 to 33-1, even after his narrow win Thursday at Chester in one of the more historically significant Derby prep races. Fourth to Kentucky Derby last-place finisher Daddy Long Legs in the UAE Derby, Mickdaam had finished second at Newmarket on April 29 in his first start since shipping from the Middle East.

On Thursday, racing over Chester’s tight-turning, left-handed course, he fought it out with Model Pupil while racing on soft, slow-playing turf. Jockey Michael Hills on Model Pupil lost contact with his right stirrup at the finish, and his mount lost the Vase by a couple inches. Irish runners, Call to Battle and David Livingston, came third and fourth, with Minimise Risk last of the quintet.

While the Chester meeting was held this week on a water-laden course, the turf at Lingfield was deemed unsuitable for racing this weekend, and that track’s Derby prep, the Group 3 Derby Trial, has been shifted to Polytrack. Eight starters are expected, among them Rougemont, who handed Mickdaam a defeat at Newmarket before a last-out third-place finish in the Classic Trial on April 28 at Sandown. Main Sequence has won all three of his career starts while facing modest opposition, while Ed de Gas is 3 for 3 against even lesser foes, and none of the Lingfield eight figure to strike fear in the heart of Camelot.