Meehan has high hopes for Hannibal Barca in 2022

Brian Meehan is confident Hannibal Barca can make his mark at the highest level next season, after outrunning his odds at Doncaster.

The Salisbury novice winner faced a big step up in class for the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy on Saturday.

But after being sent off a widely unconsidered 25-1 shot, the Zoffany colt was beaten just two lengths into fourth place by red-hot favourite Luxembourg, delighting his trainer in the process.

Meehan said: “It was a great run and it was only his third start.

“He could easily have been second.”

Meehan won the 2009 Craven Stakes with Delegator, who went on to find only the brilliant Sea The Stars too strong in the 2000 Guineas a few weeks later.

Delegator (near side) was a Classic and Royal Ascot runner-up for Brian Meehan
Delegator (near side) was a Classic and Royal Ascot runner-up for Brian Meehan (Sean Dempsey/PA)

The Manton handler could follow the same route with Hannibal Barca, adding: “I think a mile or a mile and a quarter is going to be his best trip, and we could start him off in the Craven next year.

“He’s a proper horse, and there’s a lot of physical improvement in him.

“He’s definitely Group One class for next year.”

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