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Morrison mulls Quickthorn options

Hughie Morrison is considering options for Quickthorn after the improving four-year-old’s unlikely victory at Salisbury.

There are several races, from a mile and a half to two miles, which the East Ilsley handler will look at, both at home and in France.

Quickthorn deserves to win a Pattern race on the evidence of his success at Salisbury – where he lost many lengths at the start yet was able to defeat last year’s St Leger runner-up Berkshire Rocco in the Persian Punch Conditions Stakes.

He had run a massive race on his previous start when going down by a head in the Ebor at York behind Sonnyboyliston, who has gone on to lift the Irish St Leger.

“We’ve got lots of little ideas. We might run him in a couple of weeks,” said Morrison.

“There’s a Listed race at Saint-Cloud (the Prix Scaramouche) over a mile and six; there’s the Cumberland Lodge at Ascot over a mile and a half, or we might go big and go for the Prix Royal-Oak (at ParisLongchamp) or go to Newbury for the St Simon.

“There are not that many options. The ideal ones would be over a mile and a six, and there’s also a two-mile race at Newmarket next week.”

He added: “The Ebor was a very good race – and I think his performance last week was too, given the way he gave away so much distance through no fault of his own.”

Morrison mulling the possibilities for Ebor second Quickthorn

Hughie Morrison will ponder the options for his brave Ebor runner-up Quickthorn.

The Royal Ascot winner hit the front a long way from home, only to be headed in the closing stages by eventual winner Sonnyboyliston before battling back near the line.

He was eventually beaten just a head, but Morrison cites a lack of suitable options for the rest of the season.

“He’s well, he moved well this morning which is encouraging as he obviously put a lot into it,” said Morrison.

“Maybe with a bit more experience – who knows, it was only his eighth race and he’d never been in one like that before.

“As he gets bigger and stronger, which he should do as he’s got a big frame to fill, he will improve enough next year to compete in all the decent races over a mile and six (furlongs) and two miles.

“The handicapper can’t hammer him, otherwise they’d have to put the winner up to a Group One-type mark.

“The winner ran in the same race as us at York before the Ebor and he got dropped 1lb for a below-par run but we didn’t. That’s life.

“At the beginning of the week we didn’t think we’d get in the race or get our ground and then during the race I thought he’d get swallowed up but he didn’t, he galloped on.

“I’m going to have to think what to do next as handicaps are probably out. While I wouldn’t say I’d fancy his chances, if the entries for Champions Day hadn’t closed so early I’d have put him in that.

“We might have a look at options in France. Two miles might be too far for him, but I’m trying to think what else to do. Either way he’s an exciting horse for the future.”

Quickthorn in the mix for York

Hughie Morrison is eyeing the John Smith’s Silver Cup at York on Saturday for his impressive Royal Ascot winner Quickthorn.

Having just the sixth run of his career the four-year-old justified 7-2 favouritism in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap.

Now rated 103, Morrison hopes he has a new stable star on his hands.

“As long as we don’t have any issues I think he’s a proper horse,” he said.

“If you watch him go up the gallops like I do most mornings, he has the most wonderful stride on him. You could imagine him hopping over Becher’s Brook and going round Badminton or Burghley – he’s one of those types.

“We’d like to run him on better ground so he might go to York for the Group Three over a mile and six furlongs.

“I think a little bit of cut helps because he’s strong and it doesn’t stop him.

“We need a good horse, we’ve only got 50 in so you need one. Recently we’ve had the likes of Telecaster and Marmelo and we need one to help us along.”

When asked if one day Quickthorn might go hurdling like stablemate Not So Sleepy Morrison said with a smile: “I think we’ll probably keep him to the Flat!”