Striking five-year-old grey Magical Memory, winner of the 2015 Stewards Cup and last year a dual Group winner at Newmarket and York will return to the Knavesmire in May as he attempts to emulate Handsome Sailor (1987 and 1988) by becoming just the second horse to win this six-furlong contest on two occasions.
A progressive sprinter, Charlie Hills’ charge was half-length winner of the Group Two last year but thereafter struggled to land a real blow in three starts in Group One company in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot (4th), July Cup at Newmarket (7th) and Sprint Cup at Haydock (14th).
However, Lambourn handler Hills is happy with the son of Zebedee who looks to be most effective on a firmer surface.
Sprinters are also solid yardsticks even if as they get older and he might be a horse to keep an eye on this year.
The gelding had a premature end to the season, however connections seem content with how the horse’s preparation has gone.
Sam Hoskins, racing manager to owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds, said:
He had a little setback in the autumn. He was going to go for a Group Three at Ascot, but he injured his check ligament. He’s fine now, but that meant he had to miss the Champions Sprint for the Breeders’ Cup. We weren’t sure what to go for.
Anyway he’s back now and going really nicely. He’s done really well for his extended break. He probably won’t go to Newmarket for the Abernant but is likely to go straight for the Duke of York which he won last year. If there was a good time to have a setback, he had his at the right time last year. Hopefully he’ll be the same horse from when we last saw him.
It should be really exciting. He’s only five, but unfortunately there are a load of other geldings around with Limato and The Tin Man and the fillies Quiet Reflection and Dancing Star, so it’s going to be a tough division. He’s in one piece, that’s the great thing, and we live the dream with him.