Mootasadir facing up to strong Magnolia challenge

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Hugo Palmer is wary of the challenge facing Mootasadir in a “very strong edition” of the Matchbook Magnolia Stakes at Kempton.

Palmer’s four-year-old colt was a convincing Wolverhampton winner at the start of this month, taking his all-weather race record to five victories out of five on his first run for more than five months.

Mootasadir faces strong opposition in Saturday’s Listed contest, however, including from likely favourite Matterhorn – who has won his last five races since December, and six out of eight in his career.

Palmer said: “He’s unbeaten on the all-weather, and he’s very good on that surface.

“But it’s a very strong edition of the Magnolia, and we hope later in in the year he’ll be able to transfer his form to the turf.

“I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t. But this is his last opportunity between now and the September Stakes to run on the all-weather – so we were keen to take it in, and we’re very happy with him.”

As well as Mark Johnston’s Matterhorn, a clutch of consistent performers await Mootasadir this weekend – including Mick Appleby’s Big Country, who has spent much of the winter chasing home the mighty Wissahickon in a series of classy all-weather races.

The last occasion was in the Betway Winter Derby at Lingfield, in which the reopposing Master The World was narrowly behind in sixth.

Also in the Magnolia field are the Queen’s Winter Hill Stakes winner Fabricate and Roger Charlton’s Extra Elusive.

Palmer is under no illusion about the task facing Mootasadir, for whom the Melbourne Cup is the long-term dream.

“He’s going to effectively run to a mark of 115 compared to his last run, but I think he will come on for that and I am happy with him,” he added.

“He’s won at Kempton before, and he’s in good nick, but it’s a strong race.”

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