In common with everyone who thought there was supposed to be a recession, Charlie Hills has found the going tough at Tattersalls this week. The strength and diversity of overseas interest – combined with fresh admiration for Galileo, sire of Frankel – has disclosed bewildering resilience in the yearling market. Though Hills has managed the last bid on a couple of lots, he finds himself among many relying on Book Two of the catalogue, next week, to introduce fresh blood to his Lambourn stable.
The next 48 hours could prove a great help. Tomorrow, on the Rowley Mile, Hills saddles runners in three of the big juvenile races on Future Champions' Day. Before he can start dreaming of next year's Classics, however, he must turn his attention to one that got away this time round.
Model Pupil has not been seen since the Chester Vase in May, beaten a nose after hitting top gear just too late in the short straight. The colt resurfaces in a conditions race at York today, over a shorter distance but a much more galloping track. "I'm really looking forward to having him back," Hills said. "He had an injury, but he's done very well physically, and I'm very pleased with the way he's moving. He'll stay in training and should stay well next year."
Hills was pleasantly surprised to see just five others declared against Funk Soul Brother in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes. "He came back from the Coventry with sore shins," he said. "But I don't know what went wrong at Newbury last time. His work had been really good."
Glenard tackles the Autumn Stakes after a debut success at Doncaster, while Just The Judge is among the favourites for the Vision.ae Rockfel Stakes after winning both starts at Newbury. "Glenard surprised us, because we thought he'd need the run," Hills admitted. "I loved his attitude, he really looked like he wanted it."
Chris McGrath's Nap
Natural Bloom (4.15 York) Having made quiet progress in maidens, this very well-bred filly now looks ready to exploit a fair opening mark for her handicap career.
Burning Blaze (2.00 York) Worth another chance after disappointing in his first nursery, his maiden over course and distance having proved strong form.
One to watch
Aniseed (William Haggas) Will come into her own over longer trips, finding her stride late for fourth in a Listed race over 10f at Newmarket last weekend.
Where the money's going
Countrywide Flame, the Triumph Hurdle winner, is 8-1 favourite from 9-1 with Coral for the Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket tomorrow.
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