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Sir Michael Stoute is aiming for victory with Cannock Chase in Chester

By Martin Kelly

Cannock Chase can build on a promising return with victory in the Betfair Huxley Stakes at Chester.

Connections have high hopes for the four-year-old, with Group One entries in the likes of the Prince of Wales's Stakes and the Eclipse demonstrating the kind of level Sir Michael Stoute's charge is expected to reach.

Cannock Chase appeared in need of the outing on his return at Sandown last month, finding himself in a less than ideal position before trying to pick up which proved too big an ask against Western Hymn and Postponed.

He was hardly disgraced in being beaten three lengths and should strip much fitter here.

Aidan O'Brien likes to bring his Classic hopefuls to Chester so it may be telling he fields only Hans Holbein from a clutch of entries in the Chester Vase.

Hans Holbein certainly has something to find with some of his rivals but appears to be still improving and is worth a chance.

Ed Dunlop's "strange entry" for Trip To Paris in the Betway Chester Cup yielded a princely sum as the emerging stayer delivered a show-stopping performance on the Roodee.

Wins at Lingfield and Ripon, most latterly for the first time over two miles, convinced the Newmarket handler to throw the dice in one of the most keenly contested handicaps of the Flat season.

Trip To Paris (10-1) answered every call under a wise Graham Lee as the Champs Elysees gelding got every yard of the extended two and a quarter miles, scoring by three-quarters of a length.

"He's been a revelation," said Dunlop. "I've always wanted to win this race.

"It's very hard to do it, so it's a great day. I made the strange entry and he's won. He's become a man this year."

Even bigger targets could now be on the agenda, with Trip To Paris now in the frame for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the Melbourne Cup in the autumn.

"We might supplement him for the Gold Cup, but I think we'll wait and see," said Dunlop.

"He's got to rise in the weights to get into the Melbourne Cup this year.

"Maybe we'll take two (Trip To Paris and Red Cadeaux) to halve the expense."

RaceBets gave Trip To Paris a quote of 20-1 for the Melbourne showpiece.

Diamondsandrubies earlier bounded into the Classic picture after she dazzled in the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks.

Coolmore's UK representative Kevin Buckley said of the Aidan O'Brien-trained 5-4 favourite: "The Oaks is the likely target and she is right in that picture."

Diamondsandrubies was slashed to 8-1 from 20-1 by Paddy Power for the Investec-sponsored Oaks at Epsom on June 5.

O'Brien far from had it his own way, though, as Sir Isaac Newton's Derby aspirations suffered a huge jolt in the Homeserve Maiden Stakes, finishing second to Cymro as the 1-6 favourite.

Buckley said: "He'd prefer better ground than that. We'll get him home, see how he is and Aidan can make some decisions."

Meanwhile, the meeting at Brighton was abandoned following the second race after high winds caused safety issues.

Belfast Telegraph


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