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Capulet captures Dee Stakes to join those in Derby mix for O’Brien

Capulet captures Dee Stakes to join those in Derby mix for O’Brien
Capulet captures Dee Stakes to join those in Derby mix for O’Brien

Capulet strengthened Aidan O’Brien’s Derby hand with a front-running victory in the Boodles Raindance Dee Stakes at Chester.

The Ballydoyle handler will have plenty to choose from in a bid for a 10th victory in the premier Classic at Epsom on June 1, with City Of Troy seemingly still the stable’s first string despite his disappointing run in the 2000 Guineas last weekend.

Henry Longfellow, Diego Velazquez and Los Angeles are others in the mix at this stage – and Capulet threw his hat into the ring by providing his trainer with a joint-record 11th win in this trial on the Roodee.

Given a typically well-executed ride from the front by Ryan Moore, the 7-2 shot steadily raised the tempo and took a couple of lengths out of the chasing 7-4 favourite Jayarebe from the home turn.

The Richard Hughes-trained Bracken’s Laugh, who had beaten the winner in a valuable conditions race on the all-weather at Chelmsford last month, came from further back to throw down a major challenge, but Capulet was not for passing on this occasion and was half a length in front at the line.

Paul Smith, son of co-owner Derrick Smith, said: “That was very pleasing and I thought Ryan gave him a lovely ride.

“He appreciated the step up in trip, no doubt, he’s an uncomplicated horse, he travels well so I suppose it will be the French Derby or the English Derby.

“We know he gets 10 furlongs well and he’d probably get a mile and a half the way he runs so we’re delighted with him.

“We have the trials at the weekend and next week and Aidan will sit down with the lads and discuss the plan from there.

Capulet did everything asked
Capulet did everything asked (Martin Rickett/PA)

“He’s a Justify so it’s nice to see, we’re very pleased. Ryan was delighted, he said it was very uncomplicated, he got him into a nice rhythm, he’s a kind horse and stepping up in trip wouldn’t be a problem.

“He turned the form around with the second, but I think he really appreciated the step up in trip there.”

Capulet is now as short as 14-1 for Epsom – but support continues to come in for City Of Troy, who is back as favourite with some firms.

Smith said: “Aidan is happy with him and all roads now lead to the Derby with him.”

Back to Capulet, Moore said: “He was nicely drawn, there were only the four runners and he got into a nice rhythm and was able to build away. I was very happy with him, he came forward nicely from Chelmsford and the step up in trip has helped him.

“He’s a horse who had good form last year and with a bit of luck he’ll go on from here and improve again. I think the nicer ground and 10 furlongs suited him well, so there’ll be plenty of options for him now.”

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