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Article 29th September 2023 Newmarket

By Graham Clark

Charlie Hills had an additional reason to celebrate his 45th birthday after stable stalwart Mutasaabeq enhanced his reputation as a Rowley Mile specialist when securing back-to-back wins in the feature Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Joel Stakes.     

Boasting a record of three wins from four previous visits to the course the son of Invincible Spirit, out of 2009 1000 Guineas heroine Ghanaati, left two below par performances behind to claim victory number four at his favourite track in the Group Two contest.

Sent straight into the lead by Jim Crowley the well-backed 11-4 Favourite remained in that position throughout the mile contest despite being pressed hard by a number of those in behind late on. 

After appearing to see off Regala Reality when skipping clear inside the final two furlongs, Shadwell’s homebred runner was then faced with a challenge from eventual third Chindit. 

However, it was the be the rallying Regal Reality that was to throw down the last challenge after rallying back under a determined Ryan Moore, but Mutasaabeq was not to be denied with Crowly forcing his willing mount home by a head.  

Hills, celebrating his 45th birthday today, said: “He seems to love it here. It is horses for courses, and he has got a tremendous record at the Rowley Mile and Jim has given him a good ride there. 

“He picked up good and put some nice distance between himself and the field and he just managed to hang on. I thought he toughed it out well in the end. He has been a good horse over the years, and he has won three Group Twos now. Birthday winners are good, but I’ve not really had many.

“He is not frustrating, but I think when he wins he puts a lot into it and he can’t put too many races together, although he is a little bit older now, and a bit stronger. 

“When he won here as a three-year-old he looked unbeatable and he went off not far off favourite for the 2000 Guineas just off winning a conditions race. 

“He has been pretty sound through his career, but he has not had too many chances at Group One level however I’ve always felt he is up to it.”

Although Mutasaabeq is yet to triumph at the top level, Lambourn handler Hills is hoping he might get the chance to taste a breakthrough success at the highest level in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on November 4th.  

Hills added “He has been a pleasure to train and we will see where we go next. I will speak to Angus (Gold, racing manager) and Sheikha Hissa. 

“Whether we have a look at America for the mile there that could be an option. We will certainly think about it. What do you do with a horse that has won three Group Twos. He is a good miler, and he likes fast ground. I’m sure he will handle the trip.   

“He only needs to improve a couple of lengths with the travel and the conditions and you never quite know. A track like this the mile tests his stamina, but a two-turn mile (like the one at Santa Anita) will suit him ideally.”



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