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Craven date pencilled in for Derby hope Zechariah

Martyn Meade’s Derby hope Zechariah could begin his campaign in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

The Nathaniel colt ran four times last term, coming home unplaced in his first two efforts before taking a Sandown maiden in July and then winning the Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes at Newbury in convincing style in September.

Meade is now pondering a seasonal reappearance for the bay at Headquarters in April, for the one-mile Group Three that traditionally serves as a Classic trial for colts.

“At the moment it is a bit of a toss up but I’m leaning towards the Craven first, that’s the thinking at the moment,” he said.

“He’s in good form, he was fairly lightly-raced last year but I think he showed enough to make you think he could be a sensible sort of horse.

“He was a bit immature last year, he’s grown and grown and he’s a much stronger horse. We were really lucky to do what we did with him as a two-year-old last season.”

Though the Craven is often a stepping stone to the Guineas, the Derby looks a more likely target for Zechariah as Meade suspects the mile Classic will be too short in trip for the three-year-old.

“I’m hoping for great things, we’ll aim him there (Craven) I think and then the Derby is a possibility with him. That seems to be the best thing on the agenda at the moment,” he said.

“I don’t think he’s a Guineas horse, maybe he needs further than that, but he’s doing everything I could possibly want him to do at the moment.”

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