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Menuisier retains full faith in Lionel after Newbury return

David Menuisier has hinted he is still keen to take in one of the Derby trials with Lionel following his staying-on third to Natural World at Newbury on Saturday.

The son of Lope De Vega was beaten three-quarters of a length in the Retreat At Elcot Park Maiden Stakes, having suffered traffic problems under Jamie Spencer in the one-mile-three-furlong contest.

Yet despite this luckless effort, he remains a general 66-1 chance for the Cazoo Derby at Epsom on June 4.

“He is definitely one of the best I have trained. He is a really nice horse,” said Menuisier.

“The ground was really nice at Newbury, so when it is like that, usually they take things quite well. I am delighted with him.

“It was a tough contest and I don’t want to be too cheeky, but I felt we were beaten by circumstances, rather than the opposition.

“To be perfectly honest, in our mind we won the race and that is why there is a chance that perhaps we might not run in maidens – we might just go up to the next level.”

Connections are mulling over options following his eye-catching seasonal debut, where he showed plenty of improvement from his runner-up effort on heavy ground over a mile at Newbury last October.

David Menuisier could aim high with Lionel
David Menuisier could aim high with Lionel (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“We will give him a few days. We are flat out until Wednesday and then we can start taking the pressure down a bit and look at the second wave,” added the Pulborough handler.

“The horses have to do the talking. It is not for us to put words into their mouth.

“Next time he will have a test, but I feel those better races will have more pace and this horse wants pace, because he has such a long stride and he can quicken drastically off a strong pace. Then, is he good enough or not? It is up to him to show us. I can only speculate that he is a nice horse.

“He has all the right entries, he has the right pedigree. I have doubts about the trainer, but that is the only doubt I have!

“I don’t like to talk horses up. There are one or two things we can improve and he will improve with experience.

“It is very early days for him but down the line, he will be a really good four-year-old. Whatever he does, he is bred to just get better and better and better.”

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