Mukhadram set for deserved success in York feature
Jockey Paul Hanagan gave up the chance to ride Ektihaam in the Group One King George at Ascot today to partner Mukhadram here and the hint is worth taking. The four-year-old ran the race of his life at Royal Ascot when forcing the smart Al Kazeem to pull out all of the stops to reel him in close home.
Hanagan was widely applauded for his front-running tactics that day and was faced with a similar scenario in the Coral Eclipse. His rival kept much closer order at Sandown and delivered his challenge inside the final furlong, hampering Mukhadram in the process.
That definitely impeded his chances of finishing second but his winning chance had undoubtedly gone. It was no disgrace to finish third to one of the best colts in Europe at the present time and he should resume winning ways back at Group 2 level.
If there is a danger lurking in this small but select field it is probably the South African raider Apache. He won at Meydan in the spring and also finished second twice behind Sajjhaa.
He has not raced since the end of March so it will be interesting to see how fit he is on his return. Similar question marks apply to most of Mukhadram’s rivals.
Grandeur was progressive last season but looked well short of his best on his recent start at Newmarket. That run should have brought him on and the grey could offer a threat on his best form.
He won the Twilight Derby at Santa Anita on his final start last season and will be ridden by Frankie Dettori. Wigmore Hall also made his seasonal reappearance in the same Newmarket race won by King George hopeful Universal.
The globetrotting mainstay of Michael Bell’s yard briefly threatened to launch a challenge before fitness told and he was allowed to come home in his own time. If he strips fitter on Saturday he could be held up for his late turn of foot.
The only three-year-old in the race is King George River who has not been seen since April. He chased home Intello at Newmarket and that form now looks pretty useful to say the least.