TOM Marquand swung into the Derby spirit with a cosy victory in the Chester Vase.
He partnered Youth Spirit to a length-and-three-quarter win on the Roodee for trainer Andrew Balding and the bookies shortened the three-year-old into 16-1 from 100-1 for the big one at Epsom on June 5.
Aidan O’Brien’s Sandhurst ran into second while 6-4 favourite Wirko could only manage fourth.
Marquand said: “The owner had Khalifa Sat run a huge race in the Derby last year to finish second and this horse will head there now I’d have thought.
“They’re different horses when you compare them, but Youth Spirit did plenty right today.
“It was a muddling race and I struggled for room at one point but he stayed well and that was always our question.”
Earlier on the card Mark Johnston struck in the Cheshire Oaks as Dubai Fountain (13-8f) also entered Epsom calculations.
William Hill shortened her to 12-1 for the Oaks. However they went only 8-1 for runner-up Zeyaadah.
Johnston smiled: “She’s definitely good enough for an Oaks. She’s finished a length behind the Guineas winner over a mile before, when we always knew stepping her up to this trip was what we wanted.
“Franny said it wasn’t her best performance, but I liked it, it was good enough for me! Now we just have to hope there’s nothing better at Epsom.”
FREE BETS GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE
Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to SE. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
- Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
- Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
- Never chase their losses
- Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
- Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org