Hans Holbein held high for the Derby after Chester Vase win
Hans Holbein leapt into the picture for the Investec Derby when giving trainer Aidan O'Brien a welcome turn of fortunes with an all-the-way success in the MBNA Chester Vase on the Roodee.
The Ballydoyle handler, winning the Group Three for a sixth time, had seen several of his contenders for the premier Classic, including John F Kennedy, Ol' Man River and Sir Isaac Newton, fluff their lines this season.
Hans Holbein only got his chance as Giovanni Canaletto had to miss this race after a setback and the son of Montjeu grasped it in great style as he comprehensively dispensed with his five rivals.
Ryan Moore bounced the 7-4 favourite out of the stalls and controlled things from the front, powering away to beat Storm The Stars by a length and three-quarters.
Kevin Buckley, the UK representative for owners Coolmore, said: "Ryan was told to ride him positively if there was no pace and he did.
"The horse has not run on that kind of ground before and we were very happy with the way he galloped all the way to the line.
"That definitely puts him in the Derby picture. He saw the extra two furlongs out really well, as we thought he would."
Moore said: "He went round here well enough so I don't see why he wouldn't act at Epsom."
Hans Holbein is as short as 10-1 for the Derby at Epsom on June 6.
Tac De Boistron can make a victorious seasonal bow in the Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes at Chester today.
The eight-year-old was due to return to action in last week's Sagaro Stakes at Ascot but quick ground scuppered his run, although conditions have come right for him with recent rain on the Roodee.
Tac De Boistron suffered a setback that saw him out of action until making a winning comeback in the Royal-Oak last autumn. He must carry a 7lb penalty.