A three-year-old Footstepsinthesand colt, he is owned in partnership by the Manchester United manager as well as his friend Jack Hanson and Mr and Mrs John Cotton.
Sand Boy went off a heavily-backed 8-13 favourite for the BetVictor Cheltenham Festival Antepost Pioneers Median Auction Maiden Stakes after running well at Lingfield earlier in the month on his return from a layoff, he quickened well away from his four female rivals.
Hills said: “He came back lame after his first run, so he needed plenty of time and ran a good race last time. He’s still green and should come on from that. It will have done him the world of good and we’ll see what the handicapper does.”
Asked about his best-known syndicate member, Hills said: “I talk to him quite regularly and he is very keen on his horses. It’s nice to have an owner like Alex in the yard.”
Newmarket trainer Michael Squance had apprentice of the moment Robert Tart to thank as he got off the mark for 2013 in the Get The BetVictor App Handicap.
Diplomatic (9-2) is a regular visit to the Sunbury course, being just denied over the same mile nine days earlier, and Tart stayed cool to sneak through and hold on in a blanket finish.
“He has been running well – he was drawn seven of seven here recently and was only beaten four lengths, then was beaten on the line next time,” Squance said.
“He might get further and I think he’ll go to Southwell next for a race on February 13 and then come back here. Rob’s 7lb claim has helped. He’s on a mark as good as he is off 68 and I thought if Rob could push, he could go close.”
Tart was, though, given a two-day ban (February 11-12) for using his whip above the allowed level.
Unexposed Camachoice (7-4) looked well ahead of the assessor when bounding away with the Come Dine In The Panoramic Restaurant Handicap for Marco Botti and all-weather title leader Adam Kirby.
Paul Burgoyne’s forward planning took Irene Kennett (11-2) to back-to-back Kempton wins in division one of the Come Dine In The Panoramic Restaurant Handicap.
“She got very upset here last time, so much so that I thought no horse could win, but she did,” said the Wincanton trainer.
“I thought if I could put a lid on her, she could go and win again, so we took her into the paddock early, did one circuit, and then took her out and put a hood on her.”
A power-packed finish from Asia Minor (8-1) saw him belatedly collect a maiden win for Dr Jon Scargill in division two.
The result of Irene Kennett’s race, however, had serious implications for Nathan Alison, who rode 10th-placed Imperial Elegance.
The stewards found he had used his whip above the permitted level when out of contention and he was banned for 12 days (February 11-16, 18-23).