Royal Ascot countdown: Charlie Hills with 5 to follow
Sunday 18 June 2017
With his family synonymous with success at Royal Ascot, trainer Charlie Hills will be hoping he can get his famous surname back among the winners at this year's meeting.
Having drawn a blank at the meeting 12 months ago, the Lambourn handler has in his armoury this year a team of horses he believes are more than capable of setting the record straight.
Hills reveals five horses he believes merit close consideration at the Royal fixture.
AFAAK (Britannia Stakes)
"I think he has had a nice preparation leading up to Ascot and I think off a mark of 92 he should be competitive.I think the stiff mile will suit him well and I don't think he is ground-dependent as he has won on both quick and soft ground.He has always been a good-looking horse but he had a couple of little problems last year. He has always been a very big horse and he has just needed a bit of time.If they don't run at two they can sometimes get bolshie and he is getting better with racing. I was delighted the way he came out of his race at Doncaster."
BARTHOLOMEU DIAS (Chesham Stakes)
"He is by Mount Nelson and is a three-parts brother to Purr Along, who won the Group Three Prix du Calvados at two. He is a lovely, rangy colt.He just got done from the wide draw at Goodwood and he did a bit too much. I thought the winner of the race (Masar) was impressive so we have got that form to turn around.It has always been the plan to run him in the Chesham even before he ran at Goodwood, so we will give it a go."
MAGICAL MEMORY (Diamond Jubilee Stakes)
"He had a racecourse gallop at Newmarket before he went to York and I was very pleased with his comeback run there.I was a bit worried about the ground there, but he travelled well in the race and didn't have a great draw.I feel that he is a bigger and stronger horse this year and I have been happy with him since York. He goes there with a big chance."
NEBO (Coventry Stakes)
"It was no surprise to us when he won at Newbury. He has got a good temperament and the form of that race is working out very nicely.I have been very happy with him since that Newbury race and he is a horse that in many ways reminds me of a horse called Red Clubs, who won the Coventry Stakes when it was held at York for my father.He has the same sort of temperament as him. He is the same sort of size as him and has similar looks to him."
ROCK OF ESTONIA (Windsor Castle Stakes)
"He can't do any more than he has done. He has run twice and won both races. It was always the plan after Bath to wait for Ascot.He has always been a horse that is very quick away from the gates, as seen in both his races. I've been delighted with him and a big field should not be a problem.We have some nice two-year-olds here and I am confident he will show up well."