Mister Sketch looks to have done enough for this year

Hopes high for three-year-old campaign after Mill Reef near-miss.

Mister Sketch will likely be saved for his three-year-old season after finishing second in the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

The Eve Johnson Houghton-trained Territories colt was beaten a neck on debut at the same track and then caught the eye with a wide-margin success when running away with a Salisbury novice in August.

After that nine-and-a-half-length rout he was upped sharply in the grade in the Mill Reef, a Group Two for which he was a 5-2 shot under Charlie Bishop, running for the first time in the colours of Wathnan Racing.

On heavy ground he did little wrong and was only outrun by Andrew Balding’s Array, with half a length separating them on the line at the end of the six-furlong contest.

That performance is set to be Mister Sketch’s final run as a two-year-old, and connections are hoping next year will bring about more success as he develops physically.

“He’s great, he’s come out of the race really well and we’re really happy with him,” Johnson Houghton said.

“I think the ground did for him, but only because he’s a big horse and he’s still weak. He’ll be a lovely horse for next year.

“The winner knew more, that’s the be-all and end-all of it at this age.

“I think he’s likely to have done enough for the year, we’re very hopeful for next year.”

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