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Newmarket - Horse Racing: Hills has high hopes for Masekela rival

The Listed bet365 Feilden Stakes takes centre stage on Thursday on the final day of Newmarket's Craven meeting, and Charlie Hills is hopeful he has a contender capable of taking on hot favourite Masekela.

Sonny Liston, 7/2 on Thursday, was an impressive winner of the only start of his two-year-old campaign when he trounced John and Thady Gosden's hot favourite Dukedom in a novice at Sandown in July at odds of 18/1.

Tough end to 2021

He did not race again last year after what Hills described as "a couple of niggly problems".

However, he is back fit for his first start as a three-year-old and his trainer is hopeful he can develop into a horse capable of taking in the Epsom Derby in June.

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Standing in his way at this early stage of the season, though, is the Andrew Balding-trained Masekela, 2/1 on Thursday.

He beat the highly-rated Group 2 winner Bayside Boy in the Listed Denford Stakes last summer before finishing a creditable fourth in the Royal Lodge last time out.

Perfect prep

The Martyn Meade-trained Cresta, who beat Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Modern Games on his debut last August, is another rival to note in a strong Feilden line-up, but Hills is more than happy with Sonny Liston's preparation.

"We've been really pleased with his work this spring, he doesn't overdo himself at home and it will be interesting to see how he gets on stepped up in class," he said.

"It was a nice surprise when he won first time and he had a couple of niggly problems after that. We hope we can go down the route of the Dante and the Derby but it's early days."

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