05/03/2011 1:08PM

Nathaniel looks to strengthen Epsom Derby credentials in Chester Vase


Thursday’s Group 3 Chester Vase, a nominal trial for the Epsom Derby, drew a field of just five, with Nathaniel the most highly regarded derby hopeful among the quintet.

Nathaniel, an Irish-bred Galileo colt trained by John Gosden for Lady Rothschild, has made just one start in his career, finishing second by a half-length in a maiden race Aug. 13 at Newmarket. But the horse who beat him that day was Frankel, the unbeaten English sensation who easily won the English 2000 Guineas last weekend, and no horse has come closer to Frankel than Nathaniel, who was five lengths clear of the third horse at Newmarket.

Aidan O’Brien-trained Treasure Beach also ran into Frankel in his most recent outing, finishing third while beaten more than 10 lengths by him in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes on Sept. 25 at Ascot. Slumber won an April 20 Derby trial at Epsom in his career debut, beating just four, while Nadawi and Sadler’s Risk both are maidens who have so far shown little.

◗ So You Think, probably the top 1 1/4-mile-horse in Australia during 2010, made an impressive showing Monday at The Curragh in his first start in the Northern Hemisphere and first for Aidan O’Brien. The overwhelming favorite, So You Think won the Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes by 10 lengths while starting for the first time since a third-place finish in the Melbourne Cup. So You Think is expected to make his next start in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, where he could meet the top horse Workforce.