Mutakayyef handlers eyeing British Champions’ Day if the ground stays fast

Geoffrey Riddle writes Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's Mutakayyef could be primed for either the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes or Champion Stakes after a strong run on Saturday.
Mutakayyef shown in the Juddmonte International Stakes last month in York. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Mutakayyef shown in the Juddmonte International Stakes last month in York. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Mutakayyef could run on British Champions’ Day at Ascot next month before being saved for Meydan after his fine third to Tepin in the Woodbine Mile on Saturday.

The five-year-old son of 2009 champion Sea The Stars is entered in both the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over 1,600 metres and the featured Champion Stakes, which is run over 2,000 metres.

Trained in Newmarket by William Haggas, Mutakayyef will run only if the ground is deemed suitable on October 15. Ascot revealed in July that they would stage Britain’s most valuable race meeting on the inner part of the track, which would effectively be a fresh strip of ground. Long range forecasts – never the most reliable, suggest there are only five days of rain between now and Champions’ Day.

“The problem is he needs fast ground,” Angus Gold, racing manager to the Minister of Finance, said.

“We were thinking about sending him to Australia for the Cox Plate, but Sheikh Hamdan decided against it.

“I’ve spoken to William briefly this morning and we’ll see what Ascot looks like, but if the ground isn’t right, we’ll have to wait and we’ll probably save him for Dubai.”

Mutakayyef is seen as an ideal candidate for the Dubai Turf on World Cup night, a race that is held over 1,800 metres. Judging by Saturday’s run the distance looks ideal, as Mutakayyef fluffed the start under Dane O’Neill but kept on in the final few hundred metres. He could never quite get on terms with Tepin however, and was a neck behind Tower Of Texas, who was in turn a length behind the winner.

Tepin is being aimed at the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes for fillies and mares next month, a race that she won last year, but could instead take on the colts in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile. Both races are staged at Keeneland and would act as a stepping-stone to the Breeders’ Cup Mile in November.

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Published: September 18, 2016 04:00 AM

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