Hills Duo Primed For Saudi Cup Meeting

Pogo (Ire) (Zebedee {GB}) and Garrus (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}), both trained by Charlie Hills, are in good form in advance of the Feb. 25 G3 1351 Turf Sprint in Riyadh later this month.

The former, successful in the G2 Challenge S. in October and also tried in the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile, is aiming to improve on a fifth-place effort in the 2022 edition of this race.

“Both horses are in great form and I couldn’t be much happier with them,” said Hills. “The plan has always been to start both in the race in Saudi and I’m really looking forward to running them as they seem in really rude health.

“He [Pogo] was absolutely brilliant last year and kept a really solid level of form the whole way through the campaign.

“I’ve always believed he was a really good horse, as he’s always shown that at home and it’s great that he’s translated his work on the gallops to the track. He’s got a great constitution, takes his racing really well, and just didn’t stop improving.

“Some horses just take a bit longer to develop and he might be one of those. He’s a real trier and there’s no doubt that last season showed he’s improved as he’s got older.

“The track and trip should really play to his strengths out there. He loves fast ground and hopefully this year’s race will be run a bit more to suit. We’ll probably ride him a touch more patiently this time and with any luck he’ll be bang there.”

Third in the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest, Garrus competed in the G1 British Champions Sprint S. on QIPCO British Champions Day, but was a non-factor and finished 17th.

“The trip and track should really suit him,” Hills said. “We’ve been really pleased with his run-up to the race, and it looks a really good place to start him off this year.

“The prize-money is so good out there and given it’s a race we think should play to his strengths, we’ve had it lined up for a while for him.”

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