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Hills has eyes on Sprint Cup
04 Sep 2015 16:04
Charlie Hills is under no illusions about the task facing Stewards' Cup hero Magical Memory as he prepares to test the water at the highest level in Saturday's Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock.
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The son of Zebedee has come a long way since winning a minor Leicester handicap in May, claiming a valuable prize at Newmarket's July meeting before following up in one of the most prestigious sprint handicaps of the season on the Sussex Downs under Frankie Dettori.
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With the popular Italian siding with Danzeno on Merseyside this weekend, title-chasing jockey Silvestre de Sousa comes in for the ride on Magical Memory.
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Hills said: "Magical Memory has been grand since his Stewards' Cup win. He looks like he is still improving and I am very pleased with him.
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"It's a big step up, going from a handicap to a Group One, so he has a lot on his plate, but he deserves to take his chance.
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"He's a good-looking horse with plenty of size and scope and we will find out his level on Saturday."
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The Lambourn handler is looking to claim his fourth Group One prize of the season, with stable star Muhaarar having taken the Commonwealth Cup, July Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest during a stunning summer campaign.
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"It would be great if he could become another Group One horse as Muhaarar is unlikely to be kept in training next season whereas this fellow, as a gelding, definitely will," said Hills.
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Magical Memory carries the colours of successful ownership syndicate Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds.
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Racing manager Sam Hoskins said: "He's owned by 18 normal people and they've had so much fun with him.
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"We always thought he was a nice horse, but just a nice horse, possibly not one for Group Ones.
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"If he has a hardish race, that will probably be it for this year and next year he can run in Listed races with a penalty.
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"In truth we always viewed him as a horse for next year, so what he's done already is a huge bonus.
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"He loves a fast pace, which is assured in the big handicaps, so going into Group Ones rather than Listeds might suit him as you'd think the pace would be quicker.
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"He seems to travel very well in his races, so we hope he acquits himself well.
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"If ever there is a time to go for a Group One with him, it is now. It looks an open race."
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