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The Cheka has Curragh option

Eve Johnson Houghton is considering a run at the Curragh among options for her pride and joy The Cheka following his Cammidge Trophy triumph at Doncaster on Saturday.

The talented six-year-old was running over six furlongs for the first time on Town Moor and his fine performance at Listed level suggests he could be a force at that distance this season.

Connections also have the option to go back over seven furlongs if they wish, which brings in the Gladness Stakes at the Curragh, in which The Cheka finished a short-head second to Lolly For Dolly last season.

The trainer said: "He's absolutely fine this morning and well pleased with himself. I was delighted to see him go and do it over six furlongs as it opens up a lot more avenues for us.

"We could easily go to the Duke Of York Stakes next, but I'm interested to see what the handicapper does to him. In the good six-furlong races you've got to stay to finish it off and I'm thinking you normally get a nice bit of juice in the ground at York.

"He was third in the International at Ascot last year and I thought that was the route we might have to go with him - big handicaps. We could go to the Victoria Cup, where he would have to carry top weight, but I don't think that would bother him.

"It will either be that, the Duke Of York, or he is also in the Gladness Stakes at the Curragh. We now have options over six and seven furlongs and I don't think there's any point worrying about the distance. We'll just find the best race for him. He runs well fresh, so he's not a horse we'll want to run too much."

Should The Cheka stick down the six-furlong route and land the Duke Of York Stakes in May, he would then be in line for a crack at the season's top sprints.

That would leave open the possibility of a clash with the unbeaten Australian wonder-horse Black Caviar, who is set for a tilt at the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, but Johnson Houghton is not getting ahead of herself.

She quipped: "Be scared Black Caviar, that's what I say!" and added: "I think we'll just take it a race at a time!"

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