Hills confident of Aw-some performance

Richard Hills has no doubts about Awzaan’s ability to stay a mile ahead of Saturday’s StanJames.com 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The rider has only won the colts’ Classic once in his illustrious career on Haafhd in 2004 for his father Barry.

But in Mark Johnston’s unbeaten youngster, he believes he has the perfect candidate and one who he expects to be in the frame.

“All the talk about the trip is in the Press, Mark and I have no doubts about it at all. Whether he gets beyond a mile we’re not sure, but one thing we are sure about is that he will get a mile well,” said Hills.

“I think you have to look at these races on the day but normally there is always a pretty good gallop, especially at Newmarket. It looks like it is going to be good to firm ground.

“He’s pretty straightforward. I rode him quite close to the pace in the Middle Park and he still quickened up. He’s about as straightforward a ride as you can get really.

“Without a doubt he is good enough to win a Guineas. He’s unbeaten, he finished up by winning a Group One, he looks great and gave me a good feel when I went down to Mark’s to ride him work.

“For me, I can’t be out of the first four,” he told At The Races.

Harry Findlay is better known as an owner in the National Hunt sphere through the exploits of Denman, but he has a live candidate in the John Best-trained Inler.

A well-backed winner of his only race to date, the Sangster Family bought a share of the colt after an impressive workout at Newmarket.

“I think there is a lot of hype involved, but that is just the way it worked out as we had a touch with him first time out,” said Findlay.

“The price is a bit short at the moment considering what he has got to do, especially when you consider what sort of preparation he’s had, missing his prep run.

“He’s taking on horses like Elusive Pimpernel who really stay a mile and are proper 10-furlong horses, but we are going there and looking forward to a great day out.

“I think Tony (Culhane) is riding great and I think he’s a great judge.

“He liked Inler early on but I think he questions the preparation a bit, just in what it takes to win a Guineas without a run, records suggest it is almost impossible to do.

“I haven’t even let the thought of winning the Guineas enter my head, but if he runs a good race that will be lovely,” he told Racing UK.

It is 11 years since Godolphin last took the race with Island Sands, but Al Zir looks to be one of the better chances they have had. “Al Zir is doing good, he worked yesterday and that was the last piece of work for him,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

“He worked very well. Frankie (Dettori) rode him in the morning and he was very happy with him. I was really happy with the way he finished his work.

“Today he is in good form and is a happy horse and is ready for the race.

“He was a big horse last year and he has grown again, but he has got stronger and is improving all the time physically.

“The trip will be no problem this weekend and he can go further later in the season – definitely a mile and a quarter, maybe even a mile and a half.”

Pat Eddery has moved to clear up riding arrangements for his live outsider, Hearts Of Fire.

Olivier Peslier was on board for his three victories overseas last season, including the Group One Gran Criterium at San Siro.

However, Stephane Pasquier will now ride the son of Firebreak, with Peslier likely to be needed in France by his retained owners, the Wertheimer brothers.

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