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Master Of Hounds Heading to Belmont Stakes


After opening up the season with some pleasant results in Dubai, Master of Hounds (Kingmambo) put in a solid shift in the 2011 Kentucky Derby to finish a respectable fifth for his Irish connections. After skipping the Preakness, where Animal Kingdom's (Leroidesanimeaux) bid for Triple Crown immortality was vanquished by the front-running Shackleford (Forestry), Master of Hounds is said to be shaping up nicely for a run in the Belmont Stakes in June.

Connections are reported to be bullish on Hounds' potential and his current works indicate that he should be raring to go for mid-June. He is bred for distance and the Belmont runs at a 1m4f distance which is contested a bit less in America than it is on European shores.

Finishing fifth at Churchill Downs despite a complete lack of early pace in the contest was a better result than many observers gave the invader credit for in the build-up to the race. Master of Hounds had just come off a tough beat to the classy filly Khawlah (Cape Cross) in the UAE Derby, losing on the line.

Anne-Marie O'Brien, wife of conditioner Aidan O'Brien, sent out a message on Twitter that declared “Master Of Hounds worked well this morning and is on target for the Belmont Stakes on June 11.” Bookmakers have listed O'Brien's charge at a 33/1 price tag for the Belmont, having traded around 12/1 for Kentucky Derby glory.

Both Animal Kingdom and Shackleford are expected to contest the Belmont and many will expect Hounds to add an element of spice to the already mouth-watering clash of Derby/Preakness winners at Belmont. Several other contenders names have already been bandied about for this one but the line-up is expected to become more firm in the coming week or two.

The final jewel in the Triple Crown will be a hotly-contested race despite the fact that there is no chance of a Triple Crown winner. Attention will turn to Saratoga, Monmouth and Del Mar as the American season moves into the dog days of summer


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