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Top racing around Europe

This weekend sees a feast of top racing action in the UK, Ireland and France

A weekend of top European racing kicks off with the Stanley Leisure Sprint Cup at Haydock on Saturday, followed half an hour later by the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

On Sunday France stages the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp where Rock Of Gibraltar, (pictured) owned by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, attempts to set a record of seven straight Group 1 victories.

On the domestic front Manton trainer John Gosden’s Malhub, who will be suited by the fast ground if the rains stay away, is taken to win a highly competitive Stanley LeisureSprint Cup.

Malhub won the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and most recently chased home Kyllachy in the Nunthorpe at York. His form stands up to the closest inspection and Gosden says underfoot conditions cannot be too quickfor him.

Newmarket trainer Geoff Wragg has exercised his retainer on Darryll Holland to secure the jockey’s services for Asian Heights in the Milcars September Stakes at Kempton. Holland had originally been booked to partner Continentagainst Malhub in Haydock’s big sprint. Young Keith Dalgleish takes over there.

Asian Heights split a pastern when being prepared for last year’s Derby but made a winning return at Windsor in May and is fancied to take care of another Windsor winner, Naheef, who represents the Maktoum family’s powerful Godolphin operation.

Over to Ireland

Naheef’s stable companion Grandera, so impressive at Royal Ascot, is likely to have the Leopardstown going to his liking when he takes on Hawk Wing in the Irish Champion Stakes.

Hawk Wing has been laid low with the cough, like so many in Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stable. This is his first appearance since winning the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown two months ago.

Even though O’Brien stresses that his horses will need the run as they swing back into action, Hawk Wing would not be risked if connections did not consider him ready to do himself full justice.

Likewise, Rock Of Gibraltar, who has also been on the easy list since trouncing his Sussex Stakes rivals at Goodwood. This time France’s brilliant filly Banks Hill will be a big danger as Rock Of Gibraltar tries to better mighty Mill Reef’s amazing seven straight Group 1’s at Longchamp.

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