Phoenix Of Spain on target for Royal Ascot

St James’s Palace looms for Hills’ Irish Classic winner

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Charlie Hills is counting down the days until Royal Ascot with his Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Phoenix Of Spain.

The Lope De Vega colt made his belated reappearance in last month’s Curragh Classic – and produced a hugely impressive front-running display under Jamie Spencer to comfortably see off his old foe Too Darn Hot.

A rematch is on the cards in the St James’s Palace Stakes on June 18, and Hills is relishing the challenge.

He said: “He seems to have come out of the race really well. He’s back in his normal routine now and he’s eating well, so we’re looking forward to the Tuesday of Ascot.

“We were obviously delighted with him at the Curragh. He was going away from them at the end, and galloped right through the line.

“You’d like to think there’s some improvement there, and it’s quite nice to be going into Royal Ascot with just one run under his belt this year – he’s going there nice and fresh.

“I think we’d like to try him over a mile and a quarter at some stage, but there’s no rush. We’ll take each race as it comes – but he seems pretty good over a mile, and there are plenty of nice mile races for him.

“One race you might think of stepping up in trip for would be in Ireland for the Irish Champion Stakes, but we’ll see.”

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