Hong Kong Mile on agenda as Ransom hits a top note

Charlie Hills' first Group 2 success of his fledgling training career with the smart Ransom Note gave further evidence (as if it was needed) that it is very much business as usual for the family firm since Hills took over the licence from his legendary father Barry during the summer, writes Elliot Slater.

Given a fine ride by the trainer's brother Michael, the four-year-old made every yard of the running to land the Nayef Joel Stakes, proving too good for the opposition led home by the consistent Premio Loco, (more than two-lengths adrift), and may now be prepared with the Hong Kong Mile in mind towards the end of the year. Even those who are mainly focusing on the Breeders Cup 2011 will be keeping an eye on Ransom Note in the coming months.

His win on the Rowley Mile track has resurrected what had become a disappointing season that initially promised so much for the Mould Family-owned son of Red Ransom, whose winning seasonal reappearance in the Group 3 Earl of Sefton Stakes in April suggested that he might well prove a force to be reckoned with between a mile and 10 furlongs this term. Beaten out of sight behind Goldikova in the Group 1 Prix d'Isaphan at Longchamp in May, he was then outclassed by Canford Cliffs in finishing fifth in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, before doing a great deal better when a good second to Twice Over in the Group 2 York Stakes in July and the online betting suggested he should push on.

That soon appeared a false dawn though as Ransom Note again ran poorly when beaten 19-lengths in a Group 3 in France on his next start, before being dropped down to a mile and encountering the faster ground at HQ revived his fortunes. Now that connections appear to have found the key to him there is every chance that Ransom Note could string together a few good performances and should he travel to the Far East it would not surprise were he to perform with credit in the Hong Kong Mile.