Posts

Alkumait claims clear-cut Mill Reef verdict

Alkumait ran out an impressive winner of the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

A quality field of eight colts went to post for the Group Two contest, with runaway Newcastle scorer Fivethousandtoone the narrow favourite at 5-2, ahead of Prix Morny third Rhythm Master at 3-1.

Beaten a length on his debut over the course and distance in July, the Marcus Tregoning-trained Alkumait looked an exciting horse in the making when winning on his second start at Goodwood, but nevertheless faced a significant step up in class on his return to Berkshire.

Drawn widest of all in stall one, the 8-1 shot was taken back by Jim Crowley after the starting stalls opened and settled at the rear of the field for much of the race.

However, he made quick headway to challenge for the lead entering the final furlong – and finished off strongly to hold Fivethousandtoone at bay by three-quarters of a length, with Rhythm Master almost three lengths further away in third.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Tregoning said of the winner: “It has been one of those nice upward curves with him. I worked him on some faster ground this week and I could see he was very good on it.

“He is not jarred and doesn’t feel the ground and he will progress and go on.”

Marcus Tregoning with the now-retired Mohaather
Marcus Tregoning with the now-retired Mohaather (Edward Whitaker/PA)

The victory was a significant boost for the Derby-winning trainer following the enforced retirement of his stable star Mohaather last month due to injury.

He added: “I knew we had this one coming through (after Mohaather), we just had to keep him right.

“He’s stabled right next door to my house. If he moves, like Mohaather did through the night, it wakes me up, but it is worth it.”

Tregoning is keen to test Alkumait’s stamina to see if he could be a contender for next year’s 2000 Guineas over a mile.

He said: “There is a lot of speed on the dam’s side, but if we are allowed, and everybody agrees, we will try to mould him to at least get seven furlongs and then after that we will see.

“If you could get him to drop in and settle, like he did today, there is every chance he will get a little bit further. I think that is the way to go. It opens up the game plan a bit. We could always come back to six furlongs.

“He was a little bit hairy going down to the start and a couple of times during the race the wind was blowing a bit and this little horse could hear the covers rattling. It’s just a thing he has to get used to

“He couldn’t have been more smooth through the race. He came from last to move up swiftly and he was going away at the end. I think he is pretty useful.

“When I saw him get loose one day was when I first thought he was good. He did injure one of my staff quite badly. He is just well made and has the same power down the saddle that Mohaather did – he is very similar.

“Sheikh Hamdan may want to put him away after today, but I’d be keen to run him in Group One company before the end of the season if there is a suitable race.”

Dance hoping Mill Reef rivals feel the Rhythm

John Dance has more reason than most to be excited ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

The owner of the top-class racemare Laurens will not only see his colours carried by the hugely-promising Rhythm Master in the Group Two contest, but he also bred another leading contender in the unbeaten Bahrain Pride.

The Richard Fahey-trained Rhythm Master was a 16-1 winner on his debut at Haydock, but proved that performance was no fluke by finishing an excellent third behind a couple of Royal Ascot winners in Campanelle and Nando Parrado in the Group One Prix Morny at Deauville last month.

Dance said: “We’ve been delighted with Rhythm Master and I’m very much looking forward to the race on Saturday.

“I can’t say Richard was surprised to see him win at Haydock, but it wasn’t until after the race that I fully cottoned on. Looking back now he’d made some comments beforehand that suggested he thought he was pretty good, but it didn’t really register with me.

“He won really nicely and the form worked out quite well, which is why Richard decided to pitch him in the Group One at Deauville.

“He was very green, particularly in the preliminaries. I don’t think he could believe he could see thousands of people, as there was obviously no crowd at Haydock – it was very much like the first day at school for him.

“I think the soft ground was a bit of a a shock as well, so for him to run as well as he did was very encouraging and also left the impression that there’s hopefully more to come.”

Your first 30 days for just £1

A son of Kodiac out of Life Of Pi, Bahrain Pride was bred by Dance’s Salcey Forest Stud before being sold at the Tattersalls December Foal Sale for 125,000 guineas. He was subsequently bought at the breeze-ups in June of this year by owners KHK Racing Ltd for 300,000 guineas.

A winner on his racecourse debut at Windsor in mid-August, he successfully graduated to Listed class with victory in the Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy a fortnight later.

Dance added: “I really hope he finishes second, for obvious reasons.

“If he finishes in front of us, he better win!”

Bahrain Pride is two from two for the Crisford team
Bahrain Pride is two from two for the Crisford team (Tim Goode/PA)

Ed Crisford expects Bahrain Pride to put up a staunch defence of his unbeaten record.

Crisford, who trains the juvenile in partnership with his father Simon, said: “This has been the plan for him since Ripon. He’s in great form and deserves a crack at a Group Two.

“It does look a very strong race – a Group Two is always going to be tough. But our fellow has done nothing wrong, I think he’s improving with racing and he deserves a crack at a higher grade now.

“This looks a very good option for him.”

Andrew Balding’s Fivethousandtoone was runner-up to Bahrain Pride at Windsor and renews rivalry off the back of a dominant display at Newcastle a little over a fortnight ago.

“Fivethousandtoone won well at Newcastle and took the step forward we hoped he would after finishing second at Windsor,” said Balding.

“He is a horse that I think a lot of, but this is a competitive race in a much tougher grade.

“He has looked very good at home and his work has been impressive. Hopefully he can step forward again.”

The highest-rated runner is the Archie Watson-trained Devilwala. The Haydock novice winner was last seen filling the runner-up spot behind Minzaal in the Gimcrack Stakes at York.

His jockey Rossa Ryan is confident he can make his presence felt, saying: “It was a very good performance in the Gimcrack considering he was the only horse in the race going into it on the back of one run.

Devilwala (purple)chases home Minzaal at York
Devilwala (purple)chases home Minzaal at York (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He has come on again. I sat on him last week and he felt very good.

“The drying ground should be a big help to him as he wasn’t a massive fan of the soft ground at York.

“It won’t be a pushover as it is a Mill Reef, but I do think he is overpriced on what he has done in what I think was a very good Gimcrack.

“I would like to think there is still much more to come from this horse.”

Line Of Departure completed a hat-trick for Roger Varian in a valuable sales race at Doncaster last week and is swiftly stepped up to Pattern class, while Mick Channon will be hoping his Group Three winner Cairn Gorm can bounce back from a below-par effort in the Morny.

Alkumait (Marcus Tregoning) and First Edition (Clive Cox) complete the field.