Photo: Toby Connors
Last year Mukhadram was luckless in Group 1 races, having been caught agonisingly close to the line in the Prince of Wales' Stakes before being impeded late on in the Coral-Eclipse, however, this year the colt has finally claimed that Group 1 which had eluded him for so long and at a track which arguably saw him explode into Group level with his impressive victory in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes last year.
Paul Hanagan sat tracking the early pace of Mark Johnston's Somewhat early on, a return to the tactics which had seen him at his best in comparison to the failure of hold up tactics seen at Royal Ascot this year. However, despite the belief of many that Somewhat would be a strong pacesetter, the three year old seemingly began to bowl along at a comfortable pace with very few jockeys on the leading principles switched on to what was occurring. The Fugue, Night of Thunder and Kingston Hill were all settled towards the rear of the pack of runners, but none of the three seemed to be under jockeys with any real urgency to close the gap on Somewhat early on.
By the time that the jockeys had realise the slow pace which had been created, it was all too late, with Mukhadram under Paul Hanagan bowling into a wide margin lead with ease. WIth two furlongs to go it was a matter of whether Hanagan could urge his mount to hold on, and to keep on finding from the very bottom of his reserves. Mukhadram responded as if that were barely a question mark.
At the line Mukhadram would be victorious by a margin of two lengths, with Trading Leather - who had been settled in third early on - staying on well to finish second. The early pacesetter Somewhat held on for third, with Kingston Hill faring the best of the others. In his first try over ten furlongs - a distance which had been evident he did not particularly enjoy while in America, Verrazano finished last. "I'm absolutely thrilled, we have always believed in him and he deserves to win a race like that," said winning trainer, William Haggas. "We were taking on three year olds, which I think are a particularly good crop, and it might have been a funny race as the first three were prominent throughout. We know how good he is, but he has proved it today. He has a good temperament." Having gone without a Group 1 win in the Sheikh Hamdan silks for a considerable time coming into this season, Paul Hanagan now has two top level victories under his belt in as many months, following up the June success of Taghrooda in The Oaks at Epsom.
"We went a nice gallop and it suited him perfectly," said Hanagan. "If there's a horse that deserves this, it's him. He was second in a Dubai World Cup so I'm pleased for the horse."
Mukhadram now figures to go on to the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in three weeks time.
Photo courtesy of Toby Connors