Muir harbouring Melbourne hopes for Sandown hero Hubert

Australian Group One the dream target for handicap winner

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Dreams of a shot at next year’s Melbourne Cup moved a step closer for Just Hubert after he survived a stewards’ inquiry to take the Young Stayers Handicap at Sandown on Thursday.

The William Muir-trained three-year-old has a long way to go to try to emulate his sire Dunaden, winner of the Flemington feature in 2011, but he continued his upward curve when backing up his last-time-out victory at Ripon on his first run over a mile and three-quarters.

Despite being involved in a late coming together with eventual runner-up Buckman Tavern, the 10-1 shot held on to victory by half a length in a new course record time.

Muir said: “He has always been a great mover, he doesn’t quicken very fast, but on soft ground he gallops on through. We came here more in hope than confidence because of the ground.

“We bought him – me and the owner Clive (Edginton, Foursome Thoroughbreds) – as a foal, as we want to win the Melbourne Cup and that’s the long-term plan. Clive bred Red Cadeaux and he was beat by his dad, Dunaden.

“We looked at loads of foals and he said ‘see if we can buy this as his dad beat us by a pixel and it would be nice to change the tune’.”

Walk In Marrakesh will have her sights raised to Pattern company on her next start after completing a hat-trick of victories when holding on by a half-length in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Star Stakes.

Mark Johnston said of the 2-1 winner: “It was hard to know whether she was getting tired at the end and maybe we might go back a furlong (to six), but we will go home and think about that as she just sneaked home.

“A furlong out, she looked like she was powering away with it. That (Sweet Solera) possibly could be an option. We’ve got the Listed race, so a Group race has got to be the next plan.”

George Baker had nothing but praise for Cieren Fallon after Confils (11-2) provided the jockey with the opening leg of a double at the Esher track in the Twickenham Fillies’ Handicap.

Baker said: “She won well at Bath and we thought she would win next time, but she bumped into a well-handicapped horse.

“We came here swinging the bat at a higher grade, but with Cieren on board claiming 5lb, we had everything in our favour. After today it looks like we have a progressive, young filly.

“It’s great to be able to give Cieren a few winners like we did for his father. It is great he is keeping the family tradition going.”

Fallon completed his brace when picking up what was to be a winning spare ride aboard the Tony Carroll-trained Bring Us Paradise in the concluding Molson Coors Handicap.

Kameko hit the target on his first attempt when picking up smartly to hold the fast-finishing It’s Good To Laugh at bay by half a length in the Martin Densham Memorial EBF Maiden Stakes.

Oisin Murphy, winning jockey, said of Andrew Balding’s charge: “I felt he had a nice turn of foot at home, so I was keen to get a bit of cover and see what was in the tank today.

“It was a nice education and everything went smoothly.”

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