Blue Cup became the first winning favourite on day one of the Cazoo Derby Festival when taking the mile and a quarter Cazoo Handicap in the hands of champion jockey Oisin Murphy.
The 9-2 market leader now has the John Smith’s Cup at York and Royal Ascot’s Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot as possible future targets.
After a slow start, the five year old Kendargent gelding made rapid headway to make his challenge entering the final furlong and quickened impressively to score by five and a half lengths.
Winning trainer David Menuisier said: “I am glad that for once he showed his true talent. We’ve been pretty frustrated over the last few weeks because he should have won here six weeks ago and the door just kept on shutting on him in the last furlong and a half – so we left Epsom with revenge to plan.
“We thought it was going to be at York but the horse completely lost the plot before the race. I think it was probably the set-up of the course, so it was a matter of putting everything together today and things have worked out so I’m delighted.
“He’s got a really good turn of foot so I wasn’t too worried (about the front runners) and it felt at the time that they were going far too quick up front. Even so he had a fair few lengths to make up but looking at Oisin he seemed very confident so I had every confidence he’d run well.
“The next step is the John Smith’s Cup back at York and maybe the hood and the things have made a difference so we may try and go back there for that. It’s a long way away though and looking at Royal Ascot we may have an entry in the Wolferton Stakes and take things from there.
“I think he’s a black type horse in the making and he has been for a long time – he had a little setback last year which is why we gave him the rest of the year off but he didn’t need so much time. We decided to give him extra time for him to perform this year and we hopefully have a top horse.”
Oisin Murphy added: "He relaxed super. They changed the bit from a ring-bit to a normal snaffle and he was super. It was just about finding some space in the straight. He gets through that ground very well and if he continues to behave mentally, I think he will go through the grades."
Rob Hornby, rider of runner-up Victory Chime (11-2) said: "He's a lovely horse. Unfortunately the winner always had us covered, but that's a career best and he should be exciting going forward for the rest of the year. He's tough and genuine, and he handled the ground."
Ralph Beckett, trainer of Victory Chime, added: "He only ever runs badly when I run him in the wrong race. So long as he's on a turning track he runs well, and although he hasn't been able to make it as he usually would he's still run a very good race against a well-handicapped winner. I'm delighted with him, and there are plenty of races for him."
David Egan, rider of third placed Data Protection (8-1), said: "He's run a fantastic race. He had a nice prep run at Chester and the team were confident. The winner is a very good horse but I was coming back at the second. I walked the track beforehand and it's definitely better ground up the stand side."