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Magic Circle has further enhanced his Melbourne Cup credentials with a striking success at Sandown

Magic Circle has further enhanced his Melbourne Cup credentials with a striking success at Sandown in the Group Three Henry II Stakes.

The winner of the Chester Cup 13 days ago left his rivals standing in the race over the Melbourne Cup distance of 3200 metres.

Ridden by Fran Berry, the Marwan Koukash-owned and Ian WIlliams-trained stayer quickly put daylight between himself and the field before crossing the line six lengths clear of Red Verdon.

He halved in price for the 2018 Melbourne Cup to $34 with Sportsbet, but would need to be a late entry for the Ascot Gold Cup, for which he was introduced at 20-1 by BetVictor.

“It has taken me aback a little. I didn’t think winning a Chester Cup would be beyond him, but I thought it would be tough. What he has achieved today has really announced him as a stayer on the big scene,” WIlliams said.

“It was our plan to come here and we hoped to be placed and look at going to the Melbourne Cup with him, and that still remains our number one target. What we do between now and then has probably changed a little around today.

“I’m not sure what we will do with him, but the options are open. He looks on performance a far better stayer than we could have imagined he would be.”

Koukash, who bought Magic Circle before the Chester Cup, tweeted Melbourne remained a priority but the option to run in the Gold Cup at Ascot would be considered.

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