Camelot’s Sir Dragonet Routs Chester Vase Opposition

4th at CHE, Gr. Stk, £101,000G3 MBNA Chester Vase S. (12f 101y)Winner: Sir Dragonet (Ire), c, 3 by Camelot (GB)

Sir Dragonet |


Ballydoyle’s juveniles of 2018 were hit by the dreaded lurgy during their formative period and consequently there were some unknown quantities among them heading into this season. One of the lurkers was Sir Dragonet (Ire) (Camelot {GB}), but he had already blown his cover when earning TDN Rising Star status on debut at Tipperary 13 days ago and duly justified that in spades in Wednesday’s G3 MBNA Chester Vase. Anchored in a detached last early by Donnacha O’Brien, the 13-2 shot was cajoled forward into the pack as the race increased in intensity inside the final half mile. Looping stablemate Norway (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) before the final bend, the imposing bay was almost given a breather on the outside with the race at his mercy approaching the furlong pole. Kicking clear soon after, the relative of Galileo (Ire) and Sea the Stars (Ire) paved his own way to the hallowed ground they trod at Epsom with an emphatic eight-length success under a hand ride. Ryan Moore’s mount Norway, who sweated up beforehand and drifted in the betting, wrested second from the long-time leader Dashing Willoughby (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) by 3/4 of a length. “That was very impressive–I think this is the first time I’ve sat on him,” his rider commented. “They were flat to the boards in front and he was still green, but four out I knew he was going to win.”

Like the equally impressive Listed Cheshire Oaks winner Mehdaayih (GB) (Frankel {GB}), Sir Dragonet does not hold an entry in the June 1 G1 Investec Derby so successfully did he hide his light under a bushel at Rosegreen. Even his trainer seemed surprised after his debut on that late evening at Tipperary, when he remarked that is was “nice to find him.” Visually at least he is the most impressive of the stable’s nine winners of this blue riband prep they took with the subsequent winner of that Classic Ruler of the World (Ire) in 2013. This is a tough track at which to produce wide-margin wins and this romp was reminiscent of one of the finer of those in recent times in the G3 Ormonde S. display of St Nicholas Abbey (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}) in 2011. The last to win this by as far was Shadwell’s luminary Unfuwain (Northern Dancer) who also put eight lengths between himself and the runner-up, but that was on more testing ground in 1988 so this rates as a considerable performance.

Also successful with the eventual G1 Irish Derby heroes Soldier of Fortune (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Treasure Beach (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) and with the Epsom runner-up US Army Ranger (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), Aidan O’Brien clearly does not send his minnows to this race. Donnacha, whose week could hardly get any better, added after this rout, “We have a lot of horses at Ballydoyle with great pedigrees and they only learn to sleep at home, so we don’t know what they are until they get on the track. He saves it for the track obviously and bends his knee a little bit, so a bit of juice in the ground will never be any harm to him. I’m sure he’ll be alright on better ground as well. There was a big engine in there once you asked him.”

Paul Smith, son of part-owner Derrick Smith, said, “That was a lovely surprise. He was a big baby at home and that is why he was not entered in the Derby. I suppose the lads will look at it now and make a decision a week or two beforehand. He has a beautiful Galileo pedigree by Camelot. It is all there, but he was a baby at home and he obviously comes alive on the track. We needed to educate him as he just had the one run before and Aidan thought this was a good place to come. Donnacha loved him. He said he gave him a lovely feel and was very straightforward and when he asked him, he quickened well. He was on top of them very early, but he was pleasantly surprised.”

“I remember Treasure Beach when he won here and he was about 33-1 for the Derby and he just got chinned on the line,” Smith continued. “It is real good ground here and he would have learned a lot there. It was only his second run and he took it all in his stride. The pedigree is strong and it wouldn’t be a hindrance at all, lovely good ground. This gives Aidan a fantastic yardstick now. It is good to get a sleeper as well and one you don’t know about. It is always a pleasant surprise. The big horses you get nervous, but with these it is a fact-finding mission.”

The winner is the first foal out of Sparrow (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}), whose career was highlighted by a third placing in the six-furlong G3 Ballyogan S. also for Ballydoyle. Her pedigree is Epsom through-and-through, with her half-sister being the 2011 G1 Oaks runner-up Wonder of Wonders (Kingmambo) who ironically warmed up for her Classic bid by winning a Tipperary maiden over the same trip and time of year as Sir Dragonet and the Listed Cheshire Oaks at this meeting. Their dam All Too Beautiful (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells) was also second in the 2004 Oaks behind Ouija Board (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}) and is a full-sister to the aforementioned Galileo and a half to Sea the Stars, while her unraced half-sister All For Glory (Giant’s Causeway) produced the 2017 Oaks third Alluringly (Fastnet Rock {Aus}).

Of course, the great Urban Sea (Miswaki) is at the root of them all. The dynasty extends to last year’s Derby hero Masar (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}), so Sir Dragonet is in line to provide it with back-to-back renewals of the ultimate prize. Camelot’s influence in this incredible family is gaining momentum, with Coolmore’s so promising Derby-winning young sire counting last year’s GI Belmont Oaks Invitational winner Athena (Ire) and the stable’s 3-year-old TDN Rising Star Goddess among his more notable products so far. Sparrow’s 2-year-old colt is by Australia (GB), while she also has a yearling full-brother to the winner.

Wednesday, Chester, Britain
MBNA CHESTER VASE S.-G3, £100,000, Chester, 5-8, 3yo, c/g, 12f 63yT, 2:42.91, g/s.
1–SIR DRAGONET (IRE), 126, c, 3, by Camelot (GB)
1st Dam: Sparrow (Ire) (GSP-Ire), by Oasis Dream (GB)
2nd Dam: All Too Beautiful (Ire), by Sadler’s Wells
3rd Dam: Urban Sea, by Miswaki
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN; 1ST GROUP WIN. O-Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith; B-Orpendale, Wynatt & Chelston (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien; J-Donnacha O’Brien. £56,710. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $82,409. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Norway (Ire), 126, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Love Me True, by Kingmambo. O-Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Michael Tabor; B-Southern Bloodstock (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien. £21,500.
3–Dashing Willoughby (GB), 126, c, 3, Nathaniel (Ire)–Miss Dashwood (GB), by Dylan Thomas (Ire). (70,000gns Ylg ’17 TATOCT). O-Mick & Janice Mariscotti; B-Meon Valley Stud (GB); T-Andrew Balding. £10,760.
Margins: 8, 3/4, 4HF. Odds: 6.50, 4.50, 5.50.
Also Ran: King Ottokar (Fr), Technician (Ire), Arthur Kitt (GB), Kaloor (GB). Scratched: Gentile Bellini (GB). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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