Changingoftheguard threw his hat into the Derby ring with a thoroughly impressive display in the Boodles Chester Vase.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien had saddled a record nine previous winners of the Group Three contest, with his Ruler Of The World the last horse to follow up at Epsom in 2013.
O’Brien already houses the ante-post favourite for the premier Classic in the form of Saturday’s 2000 Guineas third Luxembourg.
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And while the previously unbeaten New London was the colt expected to emerge as perhaps Luxembourg’s biggest threat with victory on the Roodee, Changingoftheguard had other ideas.
Sent straight to the lead by Ryan Moore, the 100/30 chance soon built up a handy buffer over Charlie Appleby’s prohibitively priced 4/11 shot New London.
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Michael Owen told Sky Sports Racing that expectations are ‘high’ for his new partnership with trainer Hugo Palmer after the pair combined for victory at the Chester May Festival with Ever Given.
Sky Bet slashed the winner’s Derby odds to 8/1 from 50/1, while New London is out to 12/1 from 9/2.
“He was impressive there and we always thought he’d stay well,” said O’Brien. “He was just chinned in his maiden at Punchestown before he then went and won his maiden really well at Dundalk.
Winning owner Dave Lowe praised the riding skills of Laura Pearson after Absolutelyflawless took the Lily Agnes Stakes at Chester on the opening day of the May Festival, live on Sky Sports Racing.
“There was no doubt on our part that he would take a step forward from that and improve for going up in trip.
“The one thing we weren’t sure about today was the ground when it rained as he’s such a fluid mover, but he seems to have handled it fine.
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“We were delighted with the run and I think off the back of that, you’d have to say he’d go to Epsom now.”
Buick offered no excuses for the beaten favourite, telling Sky Sports Racing: “He hasn’t run a bad run but lacks experience. He’s learned again and the winner has improved. He’ll take plenty out of it.”