Mickdaam blooms in Vase
Mickdaam prevailed in a thrilling finish to the MBNA Chester Vase at Chester on Thursday.
Back with Richard Fahey after a winter representing South African handler Mike de Kock in Dubai, the son of Dubawi prevailed by a nose in the extended 12 furlong Group Three contest to claim the biggest prize of his career.
Forced to race a little wide in the steadily contest, Tony Hamilton was the first of the jockeys behind the pace to make his move and that positive decision paid dividends with his narrow success.
David Livingston had taken the field along, tracked by compatriot and Ballysax second Call To Battle with little to separate the remaining three runners in behind.
The order was more or less unchanged for three quarters of the contest but Hamilton kicked his mount on on the bottom bend and was just about in front as the field hit the straight.
Model Pupil, trained by Charlie Hills, came home with a wet sail to launch a sustained challenge but the bird had flown as Hamilton and Mickdaam held on by the narrowest of margins.
Fahey said: "The horse was with Mike de Kock for the Dubai Carnival because of the ban on horses shipping out from South Africa, but it was always the intention that he would come back to me.
"I thought he handled the conditions very well. He'd only been back 12 days when he ran at Newmarket last month, so he was entitled to come on for that.
"It will be fantastic to run him in the Derby."
Paddy Power make the colt a 33-1 chance from 50-1 for the Investec Derby at Epsom.
Hamilton said: "When we pulled up we weren't sure who'd won, so it's good to get it.
"He's a brave horse and he's quite lazy, so I knew he'd stay well.
"I wasn't sure about the ground but I took it up a long way down and I knew he'd keep galloping."
Model Pupil's trainer, Charlie Hills, said: "I'm really pleased with that. It was a big ask stepping up to Group class from a maiden, but he achieved it.
"I think he's a mile-and-three-quarter horse and we will make the St Leger his main target and aim him at races like the King Edward VII Stakes and the Great Voltigeur along the way."