05/06/2009 12:00AM

Free Agent returns in Dee Stakes


The search for classic clues continues at Chester Racecourse on Friday with the $105,000, Group 3 Dee Stakes, a 1 1/4-mile, 75-yard trial for the Epsom Derby in which Free Agent is capable of overcoming an 11-month injury induced layoff.

Trained by Richard Hannon for Queen Elizabeth, Free Agent was 2 for 2 last June, defeating subsequent Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Donativum by five lengths in a Leicester maiden before taking the listed seven-furlong Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot. By Dr Fong out of an Unfuwain mare, he should be able to handle the step up in distance.

Aidan O'Brien will send out the likely favorite in Drumbeat, a son of Montjeu. Second to stablemate Fame and Glory in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud in November, he returned to action with a second-place finish in the listed 1 1/8-mile Feilden Stakes three weeks ago. Improvement is expected from the Galileo maiden South Easter, who is out of the Nureyev mare Dance Treat, the winner of two 1 1/4-mile Group 3's in France.

In the 1 5/8-mile, 89-yard, Group 3 Ormonde Stakes, the O'Brien-trained Irish Derby winner Frozen Fire returns from a seven -month absence against recent 1 1/2-mile, Group 3 John Porter Stakes winner Enroller.

* At Chester on Wednesday, O'Brien saddled the winner of the listed Cheshire Oaks as the 9-1 Perfect Truth led throughout in holding off Phillipina by a short head while setting a new track record of 2:22.17 for 1 3/8 miles, 79 yards on good to firm ground. Both will head straight to the English Oaks at Epsom on June 5, but there was bad news on that front from Michael Stoute. His highly regarded Leocorno, a half sister to Golan and Tartan Bearer, has suffered a foot puncture and will miss her intended Oaks prep next Wednesday in York's Musidora Stakes.