Hills eyeing Goodwood options for Cicero’s Gift

Cicero’s Gift could be in line for an outing at the Qatar Goodwood Festival as he bids to bounce back from a first defeat at Royal Ascot.

Charlie Hills’ talented colt created a taking impression when winning his first three starts in great style, earning himself a crack at the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes on the opening day of the Royal meeting.

However, his first foray into deep waters proved unsuccessful and he was unable to showcase his true ability when seeing his challenge constantly hindered from a low draw.

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His handler remains confident he has a horse with a progressive profile on his hands and is considering his next move for the 109-rated colt, with Goodwood’s Group Three Thoroughbred Stakes an option as well a further drop in grade to Listed level.

“He’s a really nice horse,” said Hills.

“He was a bit slow away and I think experience counted in the race. They went very fast for the first four furlongs and I think it just caught him out a little bit and then from that low draw, he just couldn’t get a run off that rail.

“We never got to see the full potential of him that day and we will see where we go with him now. I’m keen to give him a little break and then come back for something like the Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood which could be a good spot for him.

“He’s rated 109 and already up to a good rating, but I would love to find him a Listed race or something just to perhaps get him winning again and then work him back up.

“I see no reason why he wouldn’t get a mile and a quarter in time and he’s going to make a lovely four-year-old.”

Also poised for an appearance on the Sussex Downs is stable stalwart Pogo, who could attempt to better than last year’s third in the Lennox Stakes following his brave effort at Newmarket in the Criterion Stakes.

Pogo is in line for another run in the Lennox Stakes
Pogo is in line for another run in the Lennox Stakes (Tim Goode/PA)

The forward-going seven-year-old was beaten only half a length in the Goodwood Group Two 12 months ago and Hills sees the £180,000 event as the ideal next port of call.

“He ran really well and I was delighted with him,” said Hills.

“I think he deserves a bit of a break now after two quick runs and he’s in the Lennox Stakes which gives us about a month and is good timing.

“He wasn’t beaten too far in the race last year, he ran a huge race there, so that will probably where he goes next and there’s great prize money.”

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