Hills readying Malik for At The Races Champagne Stakes at Doncaster

Trainer Charlie Hills is already looking forward to next year with Ibn Malik as he prepares the colt for the £75,000 Group Two At The Races Champagne Stakes at Doncaster on Ladbrokes St Leger Day, Saturday, September 12.

The son of Raven’s Pass made a winning debut at Newmarket in June before going down by three quarters of a length to Galileo Gold (Hugo Palmer) when second in the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on July 28.

Hills, based at Lambourn in Berkshire, said: “The plan is for Ibn Malik to go for the At The Races Champagne Stakes.

“I have been very pleased with him since Goodwood and he is a horse I like a lot.

“He is just very professional in his work at home and has done nothing wrong on the racecourse.

“The Vintage got a bit messy and he was very inexperienced going into it after one run. He got a bit closed in and had to race tightly, but took it all well.

“We already have half an eye on next year when I think he could be a proper horse.

“He has got the right owner (Hamdan Al Maktoum) to be patient and hopefully we will be looking at all the top races.”

There are 41 entries going forward for the seven-furlong contest, including seven for Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien. The septet is led by impressive Group One Phoenix Stakes victor Air Force Blue and Air Vice Marshall, who was last seen out when second to Godolphin’s Birchwood (Richard Fahey) in the Group Two Superlative Stakes at Newmarket.

Other notable acceptors include Recorder (William Haggas), winner of last week’s Group Three Acomb Stakes at York, Jim Bolger’s Group Two winner Herald The Dawn and eye-catching Newmarket maiden scorer Emotionless (Charlie Appleby).

At The Races is sponsoring the Champagne Stakes for the third consecutive year and Matthew Imi, Chief Executive of the broadcaster, said: “As the media partner of Doncaster Racecourse, we are delighted to once again be sponsoring the At The Races Champagne Stakes.

“Every race from the St Leger Festival will be shown live on At The Races, along with in-depth analysis from our expert team of presenters.

“It promises to be another fantastic week of racing.”

About the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival

The four-day Ladbrokes St Leger Festival is the jewel in the crown of horse racing in Yorkshire and the showpiece of Doncaster’s social calendar. Racegoers enjoy a delightful blend of history, quality racing and live entertainment. The 2015 Ladbrokes St Leger Festival takes place from Wednesday, September 9 through to Saturday, September 12 inclusive.

The famous Festival is one of the highlights of the Flat racing calendar. The crescendo builds to Saturday, when the flagship event – the Ladbrokes St Leger – takes centre-stage. First run in 1776, the Ladbrokes St Leger is the world’s oldest Classic and can boast a truly outstanding heritage. It is the last of the five British Classics to be run each year.

The Festival also features a number of high-class supporting races, highlights being the J2O Spritz Scarbrough Stakes and Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Charity Race involving A P McCoy, Johnny Murtagh and 14 other retired jockeys on J2O Spritz Leger Legends Day (Wednesday), the DFS Park Hill Stakes on DFS Ladies’ Day (Thursday), the Fly Aer Lingus From Doncaster Sheffield Flying Childers Stakes and the Socialites E-Cigarettes Expert Doncaster Cup on Socialites E-Cigarettes Doncaster Cup Gentleman’s Day (Friday), plus the At The Races Champagne Stakes and Saint-Gobain Weber Park Stakes on Saturday, Ladbrokes St Leger Day.

For further details and to book tickets, please contact Doncaster Racecourse on 01302 304230 or go to www.doncaster-racececourse.co.uk . The dedicated Ladbrokes St Leger microsite can be found at www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk/st-leger .

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