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Knuckey gets surrounded in Westspeed
Knuckey gets surrounded in Westspeed

Simon Miller believes the 1100m of Saturday's Westspeed Handicap will be a perfect fit for his youngster Surrounded as the leading trainer cranks up his squad for next month's Magic Millions races at Ascot.

Miller booked comeback jockey Peter Knuckey to ride Surrounded on the weekend, his first day back in the saddle on raceday after injuring his back in a trackwork fall in early November.

He was second on the jockeys' premiership with 18 metropolitan wins when he suffered his setback. Knuckey was in action at the trials on Monday, booting home four winners from six rides.

"My back felt pretty good," Knuckey said. "It is good to have trainers like Simon and Adam Durrant supporting me again."

Miller put blinkers on Surrounded at her 950m trial at Lark Hill on January 7 where she overhauled Fleeting Romance to win smartly.

He nominated the daughter of Hidden Dragon for last weekend's two-year-old race, but it was deleted due to a lack of entries.

Miller resisted the temptation to nominate her for today's 1000m race. "She knuckled over at the start at her only run last year," Miller said. "She will be better suited at the 1100m than the 1000m."

Surrounded and another trial winner, Chielo Rossa, will headline his assault on the $250,000 Magic Millions 2YO Classic on February 16. He also has a strong hand for the $100,000 MM 3YO race.

Chielo Rossa was kept off the fence by rider Jessica Carbery when she led and recorded a 1 3/4 -length win in 61.71sec., the fastest of the three two-year-old 1000m heats at Belmont on Monday.

"I put the blinkers on to help her concentrate," Miller said. "She took fright at her sole race start when a horse drifted in front of her."

Miller booked Patrick Carbery to ride Darlington Abbey in a 1200m handicap at Ascot on Saturday.

She was also entered in the three-year-old handicap (1000m) but was scratched when she copped 61.5kg. Last year's Magic Millions winner has 54.5kg in the other race.

"It is hard to beat the older horses, but she just had to carry too much weight against her own age," Miller said.