Commonwealth Cup target for new Hills sprint talent Equilateral
Charlie Hills has unearthed another potentially smart sprinter after Equilateral made an eyecatching return to action that could have secured the colt a start in the Commonwealth Cup.
A first-time-out winner at Bath last year, who was a beaten favourite next time at York, Equilateral made all to beat the 83-rated Foxtrot Lady by eight lengths in a Doncaster novice race on Saturday night.
Hills will unleash Prix de l'Abbaye winner Battaash for the first time this season at Haydock this weekend, while he also trained champion sprinter Muhaarar to win the inaugural Commonwealth Cup in 2015.
He said on Sunday: "Equilateral won very well first time out last year but unfortunately came back lame when he ran at York the next time.
"I think he's a very smart horse. He did have entries at Newbury yesterday but we thought we'd go down the novice route at this stage.
"He'll probably go straight to Ascot now all being well. There's a very valuable race at York [£100,000 Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint on June 16] but we'll see what the handicapper gives him as he doesn't have a mark.
"We can decide which route we go then but I would be favouring the Commonwealth."
Equilateral was as big as 50-1 for the June 22 Royal Ascot Group 1 before being cut to no bigger than 16-1 – and 12-1 in some places – following his Doncaster demolition job.
Also on Saturday, Hills saw one of his stable stalwarts, Dutch Connection, produce one of his best ever performances when finishing fourth in the Lockinge Stakes at 50-1, despite being last away from the stalls.
"Dutch Connection ran a cracker," the trainer said. "I was delighted with him but he doesn't get the mile really. The key for him is seven furlongs and fast ground, but there are very few of those races. The Lennox Stakes would be the race for him."
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