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Khaadem shines & Too Darn Hot is just that


SHEIKH HAMDAN made the best possible start to the four days of the St Leger meeting at Doncaster with the improving juvenile Khaadem landing the opening 6f conditions race. A very promising third on debut, behind the exciting Calyx, the son of Dark Angel then landed a maiden at Newmarket and, again, built on that with an emphatic success. Trained by Charlie Hills, all three of his starts to date have been over this trip with Jim Crowley aboard for this victory with Dane O’Neill aboard for both his first two starts for which there were 70 days between with the horse reportedly struck into on debut. After the Doncaster win, Hills enthused: “He is a lovely horse with plenty of size and scope. We came here to further his education rather than go up in class.

“The extra experience will have done him good. He could now go for the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes but Sheikh Hamdan and his team will decide.” Three days later, the same owner and jockey were celebrating the tenacious victory of Mustashry who fought on valiantly to land the Group 2 Park Stakes over 7f for Sir Michael Stoute. Sent off favourite, the homebred 5yo Tamayuz gelding was always towards the head of affairs but looked to be in trouble when the Godolphin pair of Dutch Connections and D’bai swept through to challenge. At the same time Ryan Moore was looking for daylight aboard the strong travelling Oh This Is Us and he began to charge but the winner was digging deep under Crowley and repelled all challengers. Crowley said: “Obviously we were dropping back to 7f and we couldn’t see any obvious pace in the race. We were a little bit outpaced, but he was well on top at the line. I won’t be advising Sir Michael anything. I’m sure he has a plan for him.

“It’s great that he’s so versatile and you can go from 7f to 1m2f. He’s a super horse and seems to be improving.” Other UAE winners over the four days included Ostilio, victorious for Sheikh Mohd Obaid and Simon Crisford in a mile handicap, ridden by Andrea Atzeni, as was Another Eclipse, winner of a 1m2f handicap for David Simcock and Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum. The traditional highlight for many on the opening day is the 7f Leger Legends Classified Stakes, an inspired concept that has raised a seven figure sum for hugely worthwhile causes. The likes of Julie Krone, Mick Kinane and Joseph O’Brien were obviously not at the height of their physical powers when they landed a contest that celebrates the riding stars of the past, yet none had lost the nous and trackcraft that had brought each a host of Group and Grade One wins before retirement.

Multiple UAE Champion Jockey, Ted Durcan, only relatively recently retired was the only British Classic winner taking part in the ninth running of a race as popular with jockeys as it clearly is with the racegoers, who were clamouring for autographs in the minutes before the off. He may now be 45 and he may have quit race riding in February, but the tactical skill that earned Durcan Oaks success on Light Shift and saw him get up close home on Mastery in the St Leger for Godolphin is still there. You could see that as he settled uncertain stayer Central City, upped to a mile on his first run since being claimed by Ian Williams, then produced him to catch Andrew Thornton on the Les Eyre-trained Detachment in the final 75 yards for victory by a length and a quarter.

“He was a smashing horse to ride,” said the jockey. “I know he’d been running over six and seven furlongs, but Ian was adamant he would stay. He switched off lovely, they went reasonably hard and it opened up like the Red Sea. It worked out, but it was all because of the horse I had.” Of course Durcan, whose 1,500 odd winners worldwide included a Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup success on Somnus, had not exactly been idle since his last ride in public. “I ride out every morning for Sir Michael Stoute and I’m active enough,” he said. “I swim a lot. But you miss the weighing room, all the ‘slagging’, it’s a laugh, so this is a lovely afternoon.” Durcan rode a lot of winners for Godolphin over the years for Saeed bin Suroor, for whom he also rode work and the all blue colours were carried to victory later in the week by Royal Marine.

A homebred juvenile by Raven’s Pass, he had clearly learned a lot from his one previous outing and ran on strongly for Oisin Murphy to score tidily in a 7f maiden. Murphy was completing a double on the card having already steered Dancing Star to a hard fought success in the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes. Saddled by Andrew Balding, the 5yo was visiting the winner’s enclosure for the first time since the 2016 Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood. Then juvenile Soldier’s Call led his rivals a merry dance in the 5f Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes. The Showcasing colt provided fledgling trainer Archie Watson with his first Royal Ascot success when winning the Windsor Castle Stakes in June, but he had to make do with minor honours behind the impressive Rumble Inthejungle in the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood.

Soldier’s Call had since won a Group Three in France and was second favourite for the rematch with Rumble Inthejungle, who headed the market but never looked like confirming the Goodwood form, eventually finishing last of the nine runners. Watson said: “You have to be delighted. He’s a very, very quick 2yo and we’ve always held him in very high regard. “He’s now a Group Three winner and a Group Two winner, so I think it has to be Group Ones.” The two main contests on the second day were both restricted to fillies, highlighted by the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes over an extended 1m6f. It was won by God Given, a sixth success in the race for trainer Luca Cumani and patiently ridden by Jamie Spencer. Cumani explained: “Normally we have made the running with God Given but we decided to be more patient today and it worked.

“Now she is a Group Two winner she will probably have just one more start, in a Group One at Ascot and she should be a lovely broodmare for St Albans Bloodstock who also bred her.” Restricted to 3yo fillies over a mile, Fleeting produced a bit of a surprise in the Group 2 May Hill Stakes with Donnacha O’Brien in the saddle for his father, Aidan. Two days later, the trainer was celebrating another British Classic success with Kew Gardens seemingly outstaying the favourite, Lah Ti Dar. Ryan Moore was aboard the winner, his second in a race the handler has now won five times. A 3yo daughter of Dubawi, Lah Ti Dar is a full sister to Too Darn Hot, the pair both trained by John Gosden for Lord Lloyd-Webber.

She and Frankie Dettori may have been denied but her year younger brother, with the pair both out of Dar Re Mi, victorious in the 2010 Sheema Classic at Meydan, had already won the 7f Group 2 Champagne Stakes, the preceding event. Dettori was content to settle his mount through the early stages as Bye Bye Hong Kong was virtually running away with David Probert, and only Seamie Heffernan went with him on Cardini. Dark Vision, racing in the Godolphin silks for the first time, raced alongside Too Darn Hot in the early exchanges, but when Dettori started to take a stronger hold with around 3f still to run, the writing was on the wall for the former and Mark Johnston’s colt dropped away tamely.

Too Darn Hot really started to lengthen out and once he was rolling, he made up the deficit with Cardini in effortless style, triumphing comfortably by almost two lengths. Gosden said: “He was very impressive and it took Frankie a long time to pull him up. He and Seamie went past the Leger start and up to Rose Hill. “It’s a long way to gallop out after a 7f 2yo race. Maybe they were trying to find out if they’ll stay middle distances next year!” He added: “I’m happy with him and he did everything right. He quickened up from a long way back. He’s a young, talented horse. “He’s in the three Group Ones in October and there’ll be no decision on which one he runs in for probably ten days.” Dettori added: “That was very special. What he did between the three and the one blew me away.

“I guess the next step is a Group One, but he is very talented. When you run him on a flat track you can really feel his gears. He’s learning how to race and everything he did today was amazing.” Willie Mullins may be best known as a National Hunt trainer but does well with his Flat team and supplied both first and second in the 2m2f Group 2 Doncaster Cup, Moore and Thomas Hobson denying Atzeni and Max Dynamite.

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27 Sep 2018
Issue Number: Issue 648
Seemar can only hope for another upward performance from North America
Dubai playing a key role in British racing, says Jockey Club boss
Busybody Tadhg looks to scale mountains after climbing Hills
Nass’ trial and error style seems to be working wonders for him
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