Tag Archive for: Owen Burrows

Hukum ruled out for rest of season with leg fracture

Impressive Coronation Cup winner Hukum has fractured a hind leg and will miss the remainder of the season.

The Owen Burrows-trained five-year-old landed the first Group One of his career at Epsom on Friday in beating Pyledriver and High Definition.

Burrows, also winning his first race at the highest level, barely had time to bask in the moment, however, before the pendulum sadly swung the other way.

Whether Hukum returns to training or not has yet to be discussed.

“He’s got a fracture in his hind leg so we’ve had to put some screws in it. Obviously he’ll be out for the rest of this year,” said Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell Estate.

Connections of Hukm with Angus Gold (right) and Owen Burrows (second right)
Connections of Hukm with Angus Gold (right) and Owen Burrows (second right) (Steven Paston/PA)

“It’s a shame as he’d just won his first Group One with a career-best.

“We haven’t got as far as deciding if he will return to training as it’s early days.

“From one point of view he just seemed to be hitting his best form so with that in mind you’d say yes, but at the same time he’ll be a back-end five-year-old this year.

“We haven’t had a chance to discuss that and won’t make a rushed decision as he’ll be in his box for a bit.

“We’ll make a decision on that later in the year.”

He added: “It’s a real shame, sadly, especially for Owen as Friday was a huge result for him, but you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth.”

Hukum proves perfect advertisement for Burrows’ skills at Epsom

Owen Burrows could not have picked a better stage to register his first Group One victory – and advertise his talents to potential new owners in the process – as stable stalwart Hukum ran away with the Dahlbury Coronation Cup at Epsom.

Burrows had been employed by the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum to train a large majority of his string but following the Sheikh’s death last year, his family took the decision to cut back on their number of horses in training and Burrows had to strike out on his own.

While relishing the challenge, the security blanket had been taken away from him and he faced the prospect of moving yards and looking for new owners simultaneously.

He is understandably down on numbers, but Shadwell did leave him with his best horse and to the trainer’s relief, the five-year-old continues to come up with the goods.

Having won his first Group Two in Dubai after four wins in Group Three company, Hukum had always come up just short at the highest level, including when not beaten far into seventh in the Sheema Classic, also in Dubai.

Hukum did look to have a solid chance, though, despite last year’s winner Pyledriver and Tattersalls Gold Cup runner-up High Definition in opposition.

Sent off at 11-4, Jim Crowley covered Frankie Dettori’s move on Pyledriver and the way Hukum quickened clear to win by four and a quarter lengths suggested it will not be his last Group One, either.

Burrows admitted a sense of relief after the race, and acknowledged the timing could not have been better in registering the biggest winner of his career.

“I’m thrilled for myself and my team at home to get the first Group One,” he said.

Hukum returns to packed enclosures
Hukum returns to packed enclosures (Tim Goode/PA)

“It’s well documented what has happened with the cut down of the string so I’m thrilled, and for the horse.

“We’ve got reduced numbers but it’s still a big thrill to be training for Sheikh Hamdan’s family. Hopefully this advertises we can get the job done and it might get us a few more owners. The timing is good in that respect. It’s been a tough six months, we’ve had to reduce the team but the guys at home work so hard.”

Focussing on Hukum, Burrows will now have to possibly rethink his plans, which had tentatively been to go abroad in search of Group One glory.

“He won his Group Two in Dubai and then probably ran a career-best in the Sheema Classic. He was drawn wide that day, they didn’t go quick and he was only beaten a little over a length and a half, so I was relatively pleased.

“I always thought he might win a Group One, he looked progressive there so we’ll have to see where we go next.

“A bit of juice is important but he’s pretty versatile. He’s in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, he’s in a German Group One, he’s in the Irish St Leger and then we possibly thought Canada. I thought we might have to travel to win one, but we might have to rethink that now.

“The King George is the obvious one but we’ll have to see what the ground is like. He’s not in the Arc but it was a conversation, we did debate it. It will have to be an option and he’s in that division now.”

Paddy Power introduced him at 8-1 for the mid-summer showpiece.

Crowley was thrilled also, and given he rides Hukum’s full-brother, the William Haggas-trained unbeaten Baaeed, is in the position of knowing the family very well indeed.

Crowley said: “He’s always threatened to do that, if you remember what he did at Ascot last year in the Cumberland Lodge, he absolutely demolished them.

“He’s always been there, he was unlucky in the Sheema Classic I felt, finishing seventh but beaten less than two lengths. Coming here today I was confident he’d go close.

“He’s a bit like his brother in truth – just not as fast!

“He handles cut in the ground, so those big races in the autumn wouldn’t hold any fears. It’s testament to the family really, Sheikh Hamdan would be delighted.”

Hukum set for Coronation Cup spin

Owen Burrows’ Hukum is set to get his European campaign underway in the Group One Coronation Cup at Epsom.

The five-year-old signed off a successful and hugely consistent 2021 season with an impressive Group Three win in the Cumberland Lodge at Ascot, after which he was given a winter break before a couple of outings in Dubai.

A winner of the Group Two Dubai City Of Gold in early March, the Shadwell-owned bay was then seventh in the Dubai Sheema Classic later in the same month.

The horse is yet to run on home turf this term, but Burrows has him pencilled in to return to action in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on June 3.

“The plan is for him to go to the Coronation. Jim (Crowley, jockey) is going to come and ride him on Wednesday morning in his work and if we’re all happy, then that’s where we’ll go,” he said.

Hukum in action at Newbury
Hukum in action at Newbury (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“We did confirm him for the Hardwicke just in case, but the plan is to go to Epsom.”

Burrows also trains Royal Ascot-entrant Minzaal for the same owner and is likely to send the colt to the Platinum Jubilee Stakes after his third-placed run on seasonal debut in the 1895 Duke of York Stakes.

The son of Mehmas was returning to the track after a 207-day absence and Burrows hopes he will improve from having had a run after facing some match-fit rivals who had been kept busy on the all-weather during the winter.

“He’s been left in today, we’ve confirmed him again for the Jubilee so that’s the plan now,” he said.

“I always felt it (York) was going to be needed, he was a bit rusty at home. We hadn’t been able to get him on the grass for four or five weeks but hopefully that’s knocked the cobwebs away.

Minzaal (blue and white striped cap) in the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes
Minzaal (blue and white striped cap) in the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes (Tim Goode/PA)

“We’ve had a nice drop of rain since, so hopefully we can get him working on the grass and get him nice and tuned up.”

John Quinn’s Highfield Princess was a convincing winner of the race, coming home two and three-quarters of a length ahead of Karl Burke’s Spycatcher in second, with both horses favouring the rails side of the Knavesmire and leaving Minzaal slightly isolated in the final furlong.

“She (Highfield Princess) was impressive and she didn’t stop, we got a left a little bit there and the second horse was a bit away from us,” said Burrows.

“There were a few races at York that week, especially the sprints, where the winner was very hard to peg back.

“I was pleased though, I thought he would need it so we weren’t surprised and hopefully it’s knocked some of the rustiness off.”

Minzaal seeking perfect York reappearance for Burrows

Owen Burrows is relishing the prospect of getting Minzaal back on track when he lines up in the 1895 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York on Wednesday.

The four-year-old was only seen twice last season, both at Ascot, firstly landing Listed honours over five furlongs before finishing a creditable third in the Group One British Champions Sprint Stakes.

That end-of-season showing gives Burrows plenty of optimism ahead of his reappearance, with the son of Mehmas returning to the Knavesmire for the first time since scooping Group Two honours in the Gimcrack as a two-year-old.

“I was thrilled with how he ran on Champions Day. I thought he performed with a lot of credit and proved that he still retains plenty of his ability,” said Burrows.

“He has been with me all winter, ticking over. Physically he has really strengthened up this year and I’ve had a good preparation with him. It’s the start of his season, so he will come on for it.

“But it will be good to get him back on the track and obviously he was impressive in the Gimcrack at York. You could see halfway through the race how well he was travelling. He doesn’t overdo himself when he hits the front, but it was a very impressive performance.

“I think that proved he was certainly a quality horse – hopefully he’ll get his chance this year to prove it as well.”

Ejtilaab (left) is one of two for Charlie Fellowes
Ejtilaab (left) is one of two for Charlie Fellowes (Tim Goode/PA)

Back in fifth at Ascot on British Champions Day was Vadream, who is one of two in the race for Charlie Fellowes alongside stablemate Ejtilaab, who reverts to turf having campaigned on the all-weather of late.

Dragon Symbol finished in the first four six times in Group company last season and now makes his first appearance for Roger Varian.

Luck was not on the Cable Bay colt’s side when going down by a nose in the Sandy Lane at Haydock before crossing the line in front in the Commonwealth Cup, before being demoted by the stewards.

Royal Ascot 2021 – Day Four
Dragon Symbol (right), here running in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot last year, makes his first start for Roger Varian in the Duke Of York Stakes (David Davies/PA)

Rohaan got the better of Dragon Symbol at Haydock before following up at Ascot and although unable to trouble the judge since, could bounce back for David Evans. He was last seen finishing fifth in Saudi Arabia.

One who didn’t fare so well in Dubai though was Kevin Ryan’s Emaraaty Ana, with the Yorkshire-based handler keen to see the Group One winner return to form before he heads to Royal Ascot for the Platinum Jubilee Stakes.

Ryan said: “He’s in good form, obviously he’s on a recovery mission as he didn’t perform over in Dubai. He’s got a penalty as well, but we just need to run him somewhere before Ascot, so it’s going to be a tough test for him and we just hope he runs well. We’d just like to see a good run.”

QIPCO Guineas Festival 2021 – 2000 Guineas Day – Newmarket Racecourse
Emaraaty Ana looks to get back on track at York on Wednesday (John Walton/PA)

Garrus built on his reappearance in the Cammidge Trophy when beaten a short head in the Abernant Stakes last time and Charlie Hills reaches for a pair of blinkers now as the six-year-old attempts to continue Ryan Moore’s hot streak in the saddle.

“I was pleased with his last run, he went really close then and he’s won at York before which is encouraging,” said Hills.

“He’s worked in blinkers and worked very nicely in them, so we’ve decided to leave them on. He’s pretty cute now, he’s been doing it for a long time being a six-year-old gelding and he’s a bit laid back now, so it’s just to try to give him something else to think about.”

William Haggas is happy to get Hurricane Ivor out again quickly despite him disappointing on his reappearance in the Palace House Stakes.

Hurricane Ivor enjoyed a good spell last season
Hurricane Ivor enjoyed a good spell last season (Mike Egerton/PA)

“He was outpaced at Newmarket, I don’t think he’d ever been so fast in his life and he’s got a lot of speed,” said Haggas.

“We felt backing him up was good, he’d have a Group Three penalty in the lesser races so we’ll start here and then we’ll take it from there.

“He’s at his best over a stiff five, Newmarket was too fast, but he’ll be better for that run. It’s a bit quick coming back but we’re in the scenario of nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Spycatcher brings smart all-weather form to the table representing Middleham-based Karl Burke, as does John Quinn’s Royal Ascot scorer Highfield Princess.

Richard Hannon’s classy filly Happy Romance had been declared but was pulled out on Tuesday afternoon having gone lame.

Hukum in good shape after Sheema Classic effort

Owen Burrows felt Hukum ran a personal best in the Dubai Sheema Classic and is giving the five-year-old an easy week before firming up any plans.

The Yorkshire Cup on May 13 is a possible target for the Sea The Stars entire, who was only beaten a length and three-quarters when seventh to Shahryar at Meydan on Saturday but had won the Group Two Dubai City Of Gold three weeks earlier.

“He travelled back on Monday and he hasn’t done a lot since then but he seems OK. It’s a bit early to say just yet, but the initial signs are he looks all right,” said Burrows.

“Timing wise the Yorkshire Cup is quite nice, the middle of May, but there will be nothing concrete just yet. We’ll give him a quiet week and creep back with him next week and see where we are.

“He won the John Smith’s Silver Cup over that trip last year. I don’t really see him as a Cup horse – a two-miler – but he’s proven in the Geoffrey Freer twice that he’s effective over nearly two furlongs further than a mile and a half so it gives us a few more options.

Reflecting on Hukum’s performance in Dubai, the Lambourn trainer said: “If you’d have said to me we were going to get beat a length and three-quarters I’d have thought we’d have finished third or fourth at worst. To finish seventh is still probably a lifetime best. It was a strong Group One.

“A slightly better draw and a faster pace would have suited us a lot better, but would have suited other horses as well. I was very pleased with his run. He acquitted himself very well.”

Burrows has already pencilled Minzaal in for the 1895 Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes on the Knavesmire.

Winner of the Gimcrack Stakes over the same six furlongs in 2020, Minzaal missed most of his three-year-old campaign through injury. However, he came back in the autumn with two excellent efforts – finishing third in the British Champions Sprint at Ascot.

“I’m been very pleased with him through the winter. He was injured for the last out of season and we didn’t get him back last year until right at the end. He still ran a cracking race in the Champions Sprint. Hopefully, now we can have a good clear run with him,” he said.

“I’ve planned to start him at York, all being well, then Royal Ascot, the July Cup and all those top sprints. He proved last year he’s bang up there. I’m looking forward to him.”

Sheema Classic victory would be dream come true for Burrows

Owen Burrows is under no illusions about the task facing Hukum as he bids to deliver a poignant success in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan.

The five-year-old carries the Shadwell Stable colours of the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, for whom Burrows trained exclusively up until his death almost exactly a year ago.

The prominent owner’s family later confirmed that the Shadwell operation would be scaled back, meaning the majority of horses trained by Burrows were sold and he is now able to train for other clients.

Hukum has been a real flagbearer for the Burrows-Shadwell axis – winning at Royal Ascot and four times at Group Three level before making a successful Dubai debut three weeks ago.

Hukum tackles the same course and distance on Saturday, but Burrows acknowledges he has far more on his plate as he returns to Group One company for the first time since finishing fifth in the 2020 St Leger.

“We’re very pleased with how he’s come forward from the City Of Gold, but it’s obviously a very tough race and he’s going to have to find 6lb or 7lb,” said the Lambourn-based trainer.

“It’s very exciting and great to be involved in a race like this. These horses are the best in the world, so if we can be competitive I’ll be very pleased.

“To see him win three weeks ago was a big thing for me and big for everyone in the Shadwell operation, but this would take it to another level.

“It’s a year ago (on Thursday) since Sheikh Hamdan passed away, so I don’t think I’d be able to find the words if it did come off.

“I’m not trying to think about it too much. It’s just an honour to be here.”

The top two in the market are Japanese raider Shahryar and the Charlie Appleby-trained Yibir, who has been off the track since winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar in November.

Appleby is confident there is more to come from his charge this year.

Yibir winning the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket
Yibir winning the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket (Tim Goode/PA)

“Yibir shipped over here late. His preparation has gone very well, he’s adapted well since his arrival,” Appleby told the Godolphin website.

“This is very much a starting point for his 2022 campaign. It’s a very competitive race, a great race to be involved with on World Cup night, as indeed they all are. Hopefully this will springboard him into his new season, and hopefully there will be further travel with him.

“He has drawn 12. But that doesn’t bother me. He’s a hold-up horse, anyway.”

William Haggas is looking forward to saddling both Alenquer and Dubai Honour. Alenquer is fit from winning the Winter Derby at Lingfield last month, while Dubai Honour was last seen finishing fourth in the Hong Kong Cup.

“I thought the track would be too quick and the surface probably quick enough for Alenquer, but he’s clearly in good shape,” said the Newmarket handler.

“The Sheema Classic is a strong race, but he’s a nice horse. He surprised me in the Classic Trial at Sandown when defeating a very strong field, but he’s gone on to win easily at Royal Ascot and finish second in the Juddmonte International at York.

“Dubai Honour has gone from strength to strength, winning two Group Two races in France and finishing second in the Champion Stakes last season.

“Saturday will be his first time over a mile and a half and I’m not sure about the ground for him. He needs cut in the ground, but he did run a very solid race in December at Sha Tin. He was fourth and finished good in a strong race, so we’ll see.”

Frankie Dettori replaces the injured Martin Dwyer aboard William Muir and Chris Grassick’s stable star Pyledriver, who needs to bounce back from a no-show in Saudi Arabia four weeks ago.

Muir said: “We got drawn 14 in Saudi and had no chance. We can’t be disappointed with this draw. He’s a horse that’s very versatile. He can jump and go forward, so I think if someone said to me ‘you can be one or 15’ I’d have taken one every day of the week.

Pyledriver having a canter in front of the huge Meydan grandstand
Pyledriver having a canter in front of the huge Meydan grandstand (PA)

“Frankie’s taken over because Martin got injured. Frankie is the boy on the big stage and you can’t get any bigger than this.”

Simon and Ed Crisford’s Without A Fight, who was a head second to Hukum last time, and Saeed bin Suroor’s Dubai Future are the other British hopes.

Hukum strikes Dubai Gold to underline Sheema Classic claims

Hukum booked his ticket for the Sheema Classic later this month as he just edged victory in the Dubai City Of Gold at Meydan.

The opening event of Super Saturday was contested over 12 furlongs and Owen Burrows’ runner was expected to shine having won seven times previously, including four times at Group Three level.

Stepping up to Group Two company here, Jim Crowley rode the five-year-old with plenty of confidence, sitting off the early pace set by Amhran Na Bhfiann before angling out to challenge at the top of the straight.

Hukum took a while to reach top gear and Without A Fight certainly made a battle of it in the final furlong, but Crowley’s mount was just a shade too good at the line.

Crowley said: “We went quick to the bend, as you would expect with such a short run in, but then the pace was quite steady down the back. It just took him a while to hit top gear and he will improve a lot for it.

“He’s a solid horse. He’s never really been tested in Group One company apart from the St Leger and he didn’t get home that day, so he’s a high-class horse and I’m looking forward to riding him (in the Sheema Classic).”

Hukum runs in the Shadwell colours of the late Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum and Crowley admitted it was a special moment to have a winner for the team in Dubai.

He added: “It’s fantastic. Sheikha Hissa has come to watch and I’m so pleased the plan has come together.”

Burrows also paid tribute to Sheikh Hamdan’s impact on his career and expects Hukum to progress plenty ahead of the Sheema Classic on March 26.

He said: “It’s obviously a big thing coming over to Dubai with my first runner and it couldn’t have gone any better.

“Without Sheikh Hamdan I wouldn’t be stood here training, so his trust and faith in me, I will be forever in his debt for that. To set me up with this opportunity was massive and many thanks to his family now for sticking by me with the yard and everything.

“Whatever Hukum did today, he was going to come on plenty for. Jim said he didn’t have that hard a race, he wasn’t blowing too much there but he’s got three weeks now to enjoy this warmth and I’m sure he will come on plenty.”

Man Of Promise shot away from his rivals to win the Group Three Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint in impressive fashion.

Successful in a Listed contest over the course and distance in January, the Charlie Appleby-trained five-year-old looked a cut above as he scooted clear in the final furlong.

William Buick had the Godolphin-owned gelding well-positioned as Jash was prominent on the near side rail with Mutaraffa and Motafaawit up with the pace.

Buick made a decisive move when taking Man Of Promise over to the rail. He hit the front a furlong out and was soon well clear. Ado McGuinness’ A Case Of You, last year’s Prix de l’Abbaye winner, was four and three-quarter lengths away in second with Alkaraama two and a half lengths away in third place.

Appleby said: “It was one of those comfortable races to watch. I was confident. The team have done a fantastic job with him. I’ve never seen him look so well.

“He’s a year older now, he’s five, and I’m a big believer these sprinters take their time to mature, to develop to where he is now.

“It was a good performance. On the back of that, we are dealing with a potential Al Quoz winner.”

Mickael Barzalona rode Hypothetical to victory
Mickael Barzalona rode Hypothetical to victory (Nigel French/PA)

Hypothetical made most of the running to take the Group One spoils in round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge.

Mickael Barzalona kicked on turning for home and Salem bin Ghadayer’s five-year-old entire stole a few lengths to land the prize by a length from Remorse, who was six and a half lengths clear of Everfast in third.

The Antonio Cintra Pereira-trained Quality Boone, ridden by Vagner Leal, led close home to win the Al Bastakiya by a length and a quarter from Withering.

Storm Damage led the way as Godolphin occupied the first four places in the Ras Al Khor.

A winner over the same seven furlongs 22 days earlier, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained four-year-old dominated proceedings under a confident ride by Frankie Dettori.

He set sail for home two furlongs out and stuck on well to score from Mutafawwig, Path Of Thunder and D’bai, who also wore the blue silks.

Alfareeq gave Shadwell a big-race double after the earlier victory of Hukum when lifting the Group One Jebel Hatta.

Dane O’Neill produced the five-year-old, trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri, with a telling run to deny the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained Finest Sound in the closing stages.

The pace was slow for most of the race which did not suit last year’s winner Lord Glitters. David O’Meara’s nine-year-old made late gains to take sixth place.

O’Neill said: “My horse found a really good kick. He’s got a good turn of foot when he comes from off the pace and that suited me from my position early on.

“I knew this horse would find a good turn of foot and he dug deep.

“It looked like Andrea (Atzeni on Finest Sound) had first run on me. I gave my horse 50-60 metres to find his feet, then he picked up and was never getting beat. The leader wasn’t stopping and it took a real turn of foot to get by him.”

Hukum building up towards Sheema Classic assignment

Owen Burrows’ Hukum is limbering up for an early-season Dubai foray as the Sheema Classic beckons.

The five-year-old enjoyed a stellar 2021 campaign, winning three Group Three contests and a Listed race when finishing out of the first three only once in seven runs.

His final outing saw him take Ascot’s Cumberland Lodge by an impressive six and a half lengths, a race that contributed to him ending the season on a career-high rating of 116.

After a winter holiday an overseas trip to Meydan is now pencilled in for Hukum, who has both the Super Saturday fixture on March 5 and the Sheema Classic at the Dubai World Cup meeting on his radar.

“The plan is to take him out to Dubai for the Sheema Classic and we are considering taking him out for Super Saturday as well,” said Burrows.

“We might have a run on March 5 and he’ll possibly stay then for the three weeks before – nothing is finalised, but the Sheema is definitely on the cards.

“He’s doing some good work now and we’re very happy with him.

“He’s in a good spot and Jim (Crowley) rang me to say he’s going to come to have a sit on him one day next week.

“Super Saturday is certainly under consideration, I wouldn’t commit to it 100 per cent just yet but let’s just get through a few more weeks and see where we are with him.

“He’s an absolute star for us, he’s so consistent.

“By the end (of last season) he’d won three Group Threes and a Listed race, hopefully he can improve a little bit more as he finished the year on 116.

“He might need to find a few pounds, but I don’t think it’s beyond him.”

Hukum is owned and was bred by Shadwell Stud, the racing operation overseen by Sheikha Hissa Hamdan Al Maktoum after the death of her father, Sheikh Hamdan, in March last year.

Burrows trained exclusively for Shadwell until Sheikh Hamdan’s death, after which the scope of the family’s racing interest was reduced and the trainer was allowed to open up his yard to other owners.

Ahmad Al Shaikh, owner of Youth Spirit and 2020 Derby runner-up Khalifa Sat, has taken the opportunity to link up with Burrows and has sent him a pair of horses to run in his green and white silks.

“They’ve very kindly sent us a couple of yearlings, I’ve got an Acclamation and an Expert Eye which is great,” said Burrows.

“We’re on the lookout now for new owners so the more the merrier.”

Shadwell sold a large number of their horses through Tattersalls’ horses in training sale in October and although Burrows was not able to purchase those from his yard for other owners, he is hopeful the continued success of Hukum could draw further interest into the stable.

“I tried to buy a few horses of mine that were going through the ring at the horses in training sale but unfortunately they sold at a premium, the Shadwell horses, so I wasn’t able to get anything,” he explained.

“We’ve got the February sale now at Tattersalls next week and there’s the breeze-up sales, so hopefully before the season gets going we’ll have added a few more to the list.

“There’s nothing better than advertising your talents with a big winner like that so, god-willing, he’s (Hukum) able to go there in form and run a good race for us.”

Minzaal fuels Burrows’ dreams for exciting 2022 campaign

Owen Burrows is excited to see what Minzaal can achieve next season after rounding off his truncated campaign with a fine effort in defeat on Qipco Champions Day at Ascot.

The winner of last year’s Gimcrack Stakes, before finishing third in the Middle Park, Minzaal’s return to action was delayed by a leg injury suffered in his box last Christmas.

Having nursed his stable star back to fitness, Burrows identified a Nottingham conditions race in August as a suitable comeback target, but that plan also had to be scrapped after the Mehmas colt suffered a minor setback.

The three-year-old eventually made his return at Ascot in early October when filling the runner-up spot in the Rous Stakes – and stepped up again to finish third in Saturday’s Group One Qipco British Champions Sprint.

“It was a very pleasing run, considering he’d only made his seasonal reappearance two weeks before,” said Burrows.

“He’s obviously a horse for next year now, when all the top sprints will be on the agenda. Hopefully we can have a clear run with him – he’s an exciting horse.”

While Minzaal would have the option of contesting major sprints abroad between now and the spring, Burrows feels his lightly-raced youngster would be better served by having a break.

Owen Burrows still has high hopes for Minzaal
Owen Burrows still has high hopes for Minzaal (Mike Egerton/PA)

He added: “We did speak about Hong Kong, but he’s inexperienced in these top sprints, and I just felt if he could have sat a little bit handier on Saturday he might have been even closer.

“He is a bit slowly away from the stalls – and as Charlie Appleby commented after the race regarding the winner (Creative Force), it does just take these sprinters a while to cotton on to what is required in these top-level sprints.

“It’s not something you can force into them – it just comes with experience.

“This time next year it would be nice to be contemplating races in Dubai and things like that, but for now I think we’ll finish him for the year and look towards Royal Ascot and the July Cup next summer.”

The Lambourn-based trainer sees no reason why Minzaal should suffer a recurrence of his previous injuries.

He said: “He’s unlucky, because it was a freak injury he did in the box. That shouldn’t really bother him in the future, and hasn’t bothered us since.

“Then when he was due to reappear at Nottingham it was just a little niggle, so it’s not like you’re walking on eggshells with him all the time.

“As long as he doesn’t do anything silly in the box again, he should be fine. It was just a very unfortunate injury, which was nothing to do with training.

“He hasn’t lost a kilo in weight and has eaten up. He’s got a great temperament on him, and nothing fazes him, so hopefully that will stand him in good stead for next year.”

Burrows eyeing Hong Kong Vase option for Hukum

Runaway Cumberland Lodge winner Hukum could be set for a trip overseas with connections considering a tilt at the Hong Kong Vase.

The Shadwell-owned four-year-old trounced his rivals in the Ascot Group Three, starting as favourite and triumphing by six and a half lengths under Jim Crowley.

The run was the culmination of a successful British season that has seen the Owen Burrows-trained colt lift three Group Three prizes and barely go unplaced in seven runs at Listed level or above.

There will be no more outings on home soil this season – but Burrows does have an eye on the Group One Hong Kong Vase, over a mile and a half at Sha Tin racecourse on December 12 for a purse of HK$18million.

“We’ve entered him in Hong Kong for the Vase, there’ll be nothing before that,” Burrows said.

“It’s not a definite, but we’ve stuck him in and we’ll go from there.

“It’s in the middle of December so we’re two months away still, he seems to have taken Ascot very well but it is still some time away, so we’ll see closer to the time.”

Hukum was a Royal Ascot winner in 2020
Hukum was a Royal Ascot winner in 2020 (Megan Ridgwell/PA)

The Hong Kong race is run on turf but conditions are unlikely to be similar to the Ascot’s soft going, something Burrows feels can flatter horses that can perform on it.

“He was visually very impressive (at Ascot) but you always think, when the ground is soft like that, you can be a bit flattered,” he said.

“He’s been a really good horse for us this year, though, and that was a very taking performance.”

Minzaal poised to take Champions Day chance

Minzaal could line up for Ascot’s Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes after his impressive comeback run at the same track earlier this month.

The Owen Burrows-trained three-year-old was seen for the first time after a 371-day absence when contesting the Listed Rous Stakes on October 2.

The race was the scene of his long-awaited comeback and one in which he ran admirably, finishing only a length behind Clive Cox’s Tis Marvellous over a five-furlong trip he had never attempted before.

A highly-promising juvenile who won the Gimcrack Stakes and finished third in the Middle Park, Minzaal’s career was then stalled by an injury sustained in his stable that had kept him out of action since the Newmarket run.

Having proven himself to have retained the ability he held as a two-year-old, the bay is now set for the Group One feature, should his midweek work be satisfactory.

The weekend’s assignment is a six-furlong affair, the same trip he was campaigned over last season, and conditions should be markedly drier than the soft going at Ascot the Mehmas colt encountered on his last outing.

“He’ll go a little bit of work in the morning (Wednesday) and if we’re happy then we’ll run him,” Burrows said.

“Obviously he’d had over a year off and he was a bit rusty, but I was very pleased and thought it was a really good comeback run.

“There’s always the worry of him having a little ‘bounce’, but from what we see at home he seems in good form and if he breezes well then the plan is to go.”

Ascot return in offing for Minzaal

Last year’s Gimcrack winner Minzaal may be back in action at Ascot early next month.

Trained by Owen Burrows, Minzaal needed surgery on a leg injury which was sustained in his box and ruled him out of the first half of the campaign – and then when he was set to return at Nottingham in August, another issue meant that plan had to be shelved.

But Burrows is happy with him again, and the John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes, a Group Three over six furlongs, or the Listed Oakman Group Rous Stakes are his options – both on October 2.

“Minzaal had that little blip which forced him to miss the race at Nottingham – but touch wood, he’s back in strong work,” said Burrows.

“There’s the Bengough or the Rous Stakes – which is over five furlongs – both on the same day at Ascot. He’ll have an entry in both of them.

“Touch wood I’ve been pleased with him. He’s back in strong work, and fingers crossed we can get him there.

“He’s a very good horse, so it would be great for the team and myself to get him back because we’ve missed him this year – we thought he was going to be one of our flag bearers. It will be good to see him.”

That flag-bearing role has been taken on for the Lambourn yard by Danyah, but he disappointed when upped in class at Doncaster.

Danyah gained a valuable success at Ascot in July
Danyah gained a valuable success at Ascot in July (Nigel French/PA)

“He had a bit of mucus in his scope when he got back in the evening, but it didn’t thrown up any infection,” said Burrows.

“He seems fine, he ate up and only lost three kilos. I think he just had on off-day unfortunately. He hadn’t missed all season.

“While he’s won on soft, he’s really improved this season on fast ground. Whether or not that is a valid enough excuse, I don’t know.”

Tabdeed bidding to return to winning ways at York

Owen Burrows hopes he has found Tabdeed a good opportunity to land his first success of the season in the Biowavego Garrowby Stakes at York on Sunday.

The Lambourn trainer admitted being a little disappointed with Tabdeed’s effort in the Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket last weekend, when he was second to Summerghand.

He is turning out the six-year-old again quickly as he appears to have taken that race well and only has three rivals in the Listed contest.

“I was a little bit disappointed with him at Newmarket. He didn’t run bad, but I didn’t think he travelled like he normally does. Whether that was the undulations of the track, I don’t know. The ground was a bit loose,” said Burrows.

“He’s a six-year-old now and he’s come out of that race well. When we had to enter it was a speculative one. As the week has gone on, I’ve been pleased with him and it’s cut up to a four-runner race.

“He’s not getting any younger, but he if can run to his Hackwood form, when he was just beaten, then he’d have to go very close.

“For a horse like him there aren’t many options at this time of year. You’ve got the Bengough (at Ascot) at the beginning of October so he would only stand in his box for a month.

“He’s a six-year-old gelding and this year, touch wood, he’s been easier to train, so it’s fingers crossed.”

Tabdeed is 6lb clear on ratings, with David O’Meara’s course specialist Gulliver second-best after only going down by a neck to Commanche Falls in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood. The Ed Walker-trained Great Ambassador was third in the Stewards’ Cup and has won since.

Andrew Balding’s three-year-old Fivethousandtoone completes the quartet.

Hukum gunning for Group Three hat-trick

Hukum is reported to be in good health again as he bids to win a third Group Three race in a row in the Unibet September Stakes at Kempton on Saturday.

The four-year-old colt has looked good with victories in the John Smith’s Silver Cup at York and the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury on his last two starts.

Trainer Owen Burrows was thinking of running him in France until the horse gave an unsatisfactory scope last week. Hukum has been fine this week, persuading connections to return the four-year-old to the fray.

“Touch wood, he seems grand. It’s a nice spot again for him so fingers crossed,” said the Lambourn handler.

“We were looking at a Group Two in France last week and he had his normal scopes before and there was a little bit of mucus there. It didn’t grow any infection, but we didn’t want to be take him over there like that. In hindsight, it may have done us a favour.

“It wasn’t meant to be and this was coming a week or so later. We were lucky he didn’t get any infection so he didn’t need any antibiotics.

“I’ve been pleased with him this week so we thought we’d have a go.”

Charlie Fellowes is hoping he has Prince Of Arran back to his best for his third crack at this race, having finished third in the last two years.

Charlie Fellowes, trainer of Prince Of Arran
Charlie Fellowes, trainer of Prince Of Arran (Simon Cooper/PA)

“Prince Of Arran is in great form. Jamie Spencer rode him last week and said he felt a completely different horse to the one he rode in the spring. He seems in a much happier place mentally,” said the Newmarket handler.

“He just needed time to get over his runs in Australia as they took a lot out of him. He likes Kempton, but hates it when there is no pace in the race. It looks like there will be some pace as hopefully Archie’s (Watson) horse (Outbox) will go forward and give the race a decent gallop.

“If they go a nice gallop, he will run a nice race as he seems in good form and he loves Kempton.”

Hamish finally has his first run since June 2020, having been sidelined through injury.

Trainer William Haggas withdrew the five-year-old from the Ebor at York two weeks ago as the ground was too quick.

“I wanted try to win the Ebor with him, but unfortunately the ground wasn’t right for him. I could have run him if I wanted to, but we want to look after him,” he said.

“It was a tendon injury that he picked up, but he has had a clear run now. The conditions here will be suitable and I just want to get a run into him now.

“I think he is in pretty good shape considering he has been off for a long time. It was a good run he put up in last year’s Hardwicke Stakes from a moderate position and he came home well that day, while his three-year-old form stacks up nicely.”

Hugo Palmer feels the hat-trick-seeking Hierarchy has plenty going for him in the Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Sirenia Stakes.

The Mehmas colt successfully followed up his winning debut at Wolverhampton with victory in a novice event at Salisbury.

Palmer said: “His heart is in the right place and he seems to be improving as a two-year-old. He is showing the general public what he can do in the afternoon opposed to showing it in the morning, as he definitely saves his best for racing.

“He handles the surface, has a nice a draw and has got the momentum behind him.

“He is very much a two-year-old and though I’m not saying he will not make it at three, he would need to grow and develop.”

David Loughnane expects Fearless Angel to appreciate the step up in trip judging by her staying-on fifth over five furlongs in a Listed event at Newbury.

“She has done everything right since she has come to us. She was unlucky not to get a bit of black type last time,” said the Shropshire handler.

“She was a fraction slow away and she didn’t get into stride straight away, so she had to sit and suffer but she hit the line strongly.

“I think the all-weather will suit her and six furlongs won’t be a problem. We are hopeful of a good run.”

Hopeful assignment for classy Tabdeed

Tabdeed will switch back to Listed company as he tries to register his first win in more than a year in Saturday’s Close Brothers Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket.

The six-year-old was victorious in the Group Three Hackwood Stakes at Newbury last July, but was then well beaten in the Group One Sprint Cup and has been out of luck in two outings this term – most recently when third in the defence of his Newbury title.

Trainer Owen Burrows will now drop a grade as he looks to get his sprinter back on the winning trail.

He said: “Tabdeed ran very well when trying to defend his Hackwood Stakes crown and he was only beaten in a photo.

“There are not many options for horses like this. There was either this or the Garrowby at York, but when we saw the entries we thought we would look at this.

“He is not quite a Group One sprinter, though the ground was heavy in the Sprint Cup at Haydock when he raced at that level last season. That is twice he has disappointed on soft ground.

“This year he has been in a good place as we are normally treading on eggshells – hence why he hasn’t had many races in his career. It is good to firm and in an ideal world it would be good, but they do a good job with the track at Newmarket.”

Tabdeed will sport the first Shadwell colours, with the Charlie Hills-trained Khaadem trying blinkers for the first time.

The five-year-old is also looking to snap a losing streak having not won since lifting the 2019 Stewards’ Cup.

Hills said: “He worked well in blinkers the other day so we thought we may as well give him a go in them. He ran over seven furlongs last time and I think he did see it out, but with the blinkers on we thought it best to bring him back to six furlongs.

“It has been a frustrating season, but he has run some nice races and he looks great while he has kept his condition better this year than last year. He has finished fourth in a July Cup and a Diamond Jubilee Stakes so he can be competitive at that sort of level.”

Royal Scimitar has not got his head in front since winning on his racecourse debut last July, but trainer Clive Cox feels he has had excuses.

Cox said: “He is a top-of-the-ground horse and where we thought he would stay further, he has proven most productive back over six furlongs. He was unlucky at the Shergar Cup meeting last time as the ground was on the easy side and he fluffed his lines at the start.

“This is a big step again but he looks great and he ran well over course and distance at the July Festival behind Blackrod, who has since won at York, so I would be hopeful he runs well.”

Royal Crusade was fifth in the Hackwood last time out for Charlie Appleby, but has subsequently been gelded.

Appleby said: “It is his first start since he has been gelded and he has taken the operation well. Hopefully we can now get back on track to where we were as a three-year-old with him.

“His work has been nice and hopefully he can use this race a starting point to returning to some sort of form.”

Ten runners are set to contest the six-furlong heat with Summerghand and Mums Tipple other key names in the mix.