07/31/2009 11:00PM

Shippers challenge Hilton's Cherokee

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Hilton's Cherokee, an impressive winner of the Harry Jeffrey in his first start locally, will be looking to hold the fort against a pair of invaders on Monday in the $75,000 Manitoba Derby at Assiniboia Downs.

The 1 1/8-mile Manitoba Derby, the showpiece of the Assiniboia meeting, headlines a nine-race card which also includes two $30,000 stakes, the Assiniboia Oaks and Graduation Stakes.

Hilton's Cherokee, making his local debut and first start for trainer Emile Corbel, was racing for just the third time and stretching out for the first in the Jeffrey. He stalked the pace and then took charge en route to a 1 3/4-length score in the 1 1/16-mile Jeffrey.

Canterbury Park shipper Smuggler's Hold, the 5-2 favorite on the track's morning line, won under second-level allowance terms over 1o1/16 miles of muddy going and then finished fourth in the Dean Kutz Stakes over one mile of turf in his last two Canterbury outings.

Smuggler's Hold's closing style should stand him in good stead in a field replete with speed-oriented runners.

Tease the Tiger, based at Northlands Park, is coming off a third-place finish behind the solid Edmonton-based campaigners Robo Willie and Cool Diablo in the one-mile Ky Alta. Tease the Tiger finished third when shipping in for last September's one-mile Winnipeg Futurity.

Theglow, who has been the subject of an ownership dispute and was scratched from the Jeffrey, is a serious pace threat here.

In his last two starts, Theglow has pressed the pace before taking charge for lengthy victories in the six-furlong Golden Boy and a 7 1/2-furlong optional claimer.

Wooden Ya Know It comes into the Manitoba Derby off an 8 1/2-length win in a first-level optional $15,000 claimer over one mile on July 24.

Muffin's Star, the lone filly in the field, will be seeking her third straight score following front-running successes over six furlongs and one mile.