Hills takes landmark win

Trainer Barry Hills chalked up 300 winners at Newmarket thanks to a terrific treble on the opening day of the Craven meeting.

The milestone, which came only weeks after he had made it to 3000 career victories, was sealed by Redwood, who came home the 11-4 winner of the Tuddenham Mill Feilden Stakes.

The unbeaten High Chaparral colt made it two from two on the Rowley Mile track as he turned over Aidan O'Brien's Drumbeat by two lengths, with the Henry Cecil-trained favourite On Our Way only fourth of the five runners.

Hills said: "There aren't many people who have had 300 winners at Newmarket so I'm delighted. I've always enjoyed coming here. It's wonderful racing and a great test of the thoroughbred."

Hills will now look to take the smart Redwood to the Dante at York next month. Asked if the colt had a Derby entry, Hills said: "No, but he could have one - anything is possible."

Lambourn handler Hills had earlier moved to within one of his landmark when Ouqba bagged the card's other Listed event - the Betterbet European Free Handicap.

He returned the 4-1 winner, beating Awinnersgame by two and three-quarter lengths. Connections may give consideration to tackling the French 2000 Guineas ahead of a possible Jersey Stakes tilt.

Hills said: "He did well over the winter, has been working consistently at home and I'm very pleased with that.

"He is in the French 2000 Guineas but the Jersey springs to mind - it could be right up his alley."

Hills wasted no time in making it 301 winners at HQ as Infiraad delivered at odds of 9-2 in the Alex Scott Maiden Stakes.

Hills summed up: "The horses are running well at the moment. They look well and are healthy."

Different meeting, same old John Gosden. The Newmarket-based trainer couldn't quite emulate last year's four-timer on the opening day of Newmarket's curtain-raiser but still registered a neat double-strike.

Gosden, who won the Tattersalls Timeform Million with Donativum last October, took another race in the lucrative series with the unbeaten Nehaam on target in the Tattersalls Timeform 3-Y-O Trophy.

Sheikh Hamdan's unbeaten Nayef colt just held off Monitor Closely in a cracking duel, prevailing by a head at odds of 8-1.

Most firms cut Gosden's charge to 16-1 for the Derby but he is still available at 20s with Coral.

Gosden said: "He has done it well and Richard (Hills) rode him beautifully.

"In fairness to the horse he missed two weeks with a horrible foot bruise that turned into an abscess. I wanted to do one more proper bit of work with him but ran out of time.

"We will look towards the Dante now as York will suit him well."

Fellow Newmarket handler Peter Chapple-Hyam said of the runner-up: "He has ran very well but was a bit green in the final furlong. This was the plan all year. He is in the Dante and we will see about that."

Gosden had earlier triggered the brace with promising newcomer Sopranist making all in the Grand Prix White Turf St Moritz Maiden Stakes to give Frankie Dettori a winner with his first ride of the new season.

The 7-1 shot turned over Cecil's well-touted debutant Native Ruler, a half-brother to 2006 St Leger winner Sixties Icon.

Gosden, who also won the 10-furlong event last year with Pampas Cat, said: "Frankie said he got the run of the race and we will wait for a conditions race now."

Richard Hannon has yet another handy two-year-old prospect on his hands judged by the effort of Monsieur Chevalier in the Betterbet Bookmaker Of The Year 2009 Conditions Stakes.

Already successful in a Folkestone maiden, he followed up in impressive style under Richard Hughes to collar Soccer at the furlong pole before going on to score by three and half lengths.

Hannon said: "He has obviously got ability and I like his attitude. He couldn't care less, he's such a relaxed character - you could take him to bed with you!"

Asked if he was Royal Ascot material, Hannon replied: "Until we see something better. Richard says he wants six furlongs but I don't think he would want too much of this fast ground.

"If it turns up fast ground he would not got there but you've got to make all the right entries."

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