Sheikh Hamdan’s team remains upbeat despite Irish Oaks stumble

Status of Taghrooda and Mukhadram for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes remains undecided

Paul Hanagan riding Taghrooda, right, wins the English Oaks at Epsom Racecourse on June 06, 2014, in Epsom, England. Charlie Crowhurst / Getty Images
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Tarfasha’s disappointing run in the Irish Oaks on Saturday at the Curragh was a rare setback for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid in Europe this season, but the team behind his racing operation are confident they can bounce back this weekend.

Tarfasha flirted with the lead in the Irish Oaks 600 metres from the finish line, but she looked far removed from the filly that finished second at Epsom in the English equivalent last month.

Tarfasha faded into fifth behind Aidan O’Brien’s Bracelet, the only filly in the field of 10 runners who had won over the 2,400m distance previously.

Sheikh Hamdan has two entries for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, but a decision over the participation of both Mukhadram, the Eclipse Stakes winner, and Taghrooda, the English Oaks winner, will be made later this week.

Three-year-old fillies receive a handy weight allowance in the Group 1 event, and the last time Sheikh Hamdan ran an Oaks-winning filly was when Eswarah lined up with only 53 kilograms on her back, in contrast to Azamour, the winner, who humped 60kg. Eswarah finished eighth under Richard Hills.

Hills said he believed the concession could prove extremely handy on Saturday.

“It is very hard not to ignore the weight,” the assistant racing manager said. “She’s a Classic winner and has never been beaten. She gets over a stone in weight, which sounds a lot.

“She does it all here own way at home and only does what you ask of her in the morning, but she is totally different on the track.”

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