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'I don't think Epsom will be a problem' - Hills set to saddle first Derby runner

Sonny Liston (far left): finished third behind Star Of India in the Dee Stakes at Chester
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Charlie Hills is poised to saddle his first runner in the race that famously eluded his father after revealing that Sonny Liston is set to take his chance in the Cazoo Derby.

Barry Hills trained five British Classic winners in 42 years with a licence but had a series of frustrating near-misses at Epsom, where Hawaiian Sound was just pipped by Shirley Heights in 1978 in a finish so close that he thought, from where he was watching, his colt had actually won.

Rheingold was short-headed by Roberto in 1972 and Glacial Storm and Blue Stag were also runners-up in the Derby for a man who retired in 2011 and handed the reins over to his son.

Now Sonny Liston is set to represent the Lambourn yard at Epsom on June 4 after his third place in the Dee Stakes at Chester last week.

Hawaiian Sound (left) was one of four Derby runners-up trained by Barry Hills

Chelsea Thoroughbreds' three-year-old came from off the pace to be beaten just over two lengths behind Star Of India there, despite racing wide off the home turn, and his trainer said: "We are leaning towards running in the Derby, which is exciting.

"He learned a lot from running at Chester, going round those bends. He showed a good turn of foot and he did well to finish as close as he did.

"He's got a lot of talent and the owners are keen. He's not too big and he's well balanced so I don't think that Epsom will be a problem."

Sonny Liston, who is also entered in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, is a best-priced 66-1 for the Derby, which Charlie Hills's elder brother Michael won on board Shaamit in 1996.

Watch Sonny Liston's run in the Dee Stakes at Chester

Cazoo Derby (4.30 Epsom, June 4)

bet365: 2 Desert Crown, 3 Stone Age, 7 Changingoftheguard, 10 Piz Badile, 14 Star Of India, United Nations, 16 Nahanni, Walk Of Stars, 20 bar

Read more Cazoo Derby news:

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'My previous one didn't go so well' - Kingscote hoping for a better Derby ride

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The trials have been run - so who do our experts fancy for the 2022 Cazoo Derby?

Don't miss the Racing Post Royal Ascot Guide 2022. Only £14.99, the 192-page guide is packed with tips and information for the five-day festival of top-class Flat racing, including profiles of the leading horses and the lowdown on the top trainers and jockeys. Order your copy here or call 01933 304858. Use the code ASCOTJUBILEE to get £2 off for a limited period only.

He's got a lot of talent and the owners are keen
E.W. Terms