Hamdan pair to clash at Ascot
The Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum owned pair of Taghrooda and Mukhadram are still on course to meet in next weekend’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, after the latter’s trainer William Haggas confirmed his charge is still likely to line up, saying in the Times: “As far as I am concerned, he is going for the King George. I’ve heard no different and I have been training him for the race.”
Taghrooda, who beat another fellow Hamdan charge in the form of Tarfasha in the Epsom Oaks, was last week switched from lining up in the Irish equivalent, with connections keen for her to take on the boys and her elders in next Saturday’s Group 1. Mukhadram, on the other hand, was always likely to end up at Ascot as a natural progression from his surprise victory in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown earlier in the month, although he will be tackling a trip above 1m 2f for the very first time.
Hamdan Al Maktoum’s retained rider Paul Hanagan has partnered Mukhadram on all thirteen of his racecourse starts to date but Haggas believes he will nail his colours to the mast of Taghrooda next weekend, a decision he feels is fully justified.
“I’d be staggered if Paul didn’t ride Taghrooda. I don’t think he could possibly get off an Oaks winner, especially with her weight allowance.
“It was exactly the same situation when we went for the King George with Shaamit, after he’d won the Derby in 1996. Michael Hills got off our horse to ride Pentire. He said it was the worst decision he ever had to make but he was right – Pentire won and we were only third.
“We’d always felt he (Mukhadram) was a Group One horse and I was disappointed for him (when second in the Dubai World Cup). That’s why the Eclipse was so special. I planned to come on for the King George straight away, because this is a horse that is better for racing.
“He’s never run beyond ten furlongs, but he’s not a keen or silly horse and he might be even better for the trip.
“Angus Gold (racing manager to Sheikh Hamdan) came to see me last week and told me that plans for Taghrooda had changed. He didn’t say it altered my plans, though, and I’m hoping we will still run.
“I never like taking on another of Sheikh Hamdan’s in ordinary fare but a Group One is different.”
By Kevin Walsh 21/7/14
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