WILLIAM Haggas has always maintained that the ultra-consistent Mukhadram was a Grade One horse and it lived up to his word when his stable star won the Coral-Eclipse Stakes.
The five-year-old, victorious in last year’s Sky Bet York Stakes, powered clear of a high-class field at the two-furlong pole to compensate connections for their misfortune in the corresponding race 12 months ago when they suffered interference at the hands of race winner Al Kazeem.
The victory was a special one for Haggas because he hails from Skipton, which hosted the Tour de France on the same day.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to bits, he so deserves to win a good race,” said Haggas. “He was unlucky last year, he probably wasn’t the winner, but the winner lay over him and it cost him second.
“He ran great in the Prince of Wales’ again (fourth behind The Fugue) and we thought he was stronger this year.
“We’ve always believed in him and I’m thrilled for everyone he’s gone and done it.”
The trainer wants to turn Mukhadram into a blue-chip stallion prospect for owner-breeder Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum said and the five-year-old could reappear in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in just under three weeks.
York’s Juddmonte International is another possibility but Haggas said: “I have always wanted to have a go at the King George, I thought if he was going to improve a bit it would be at a mile and a half.
“He’s a resolute galloper and I’d love to give the King George a go.”
This Sandown success was another Grade One success for dual champion jockey Paul Hanagan, who has taken his riding to a new level after landing the Epsom Oaks aboard Taghrooda.
“If there is a horse that deserves that, it’s him. He’s been second in the Dubai World Cup and could have been second in this last year, I’m just so pleased for the horse,” he said.
“Everyone at the yard has done a fantastic job with him, I’m chuffed to bits. I could put my children on him, he’s A1, a pleasure.”
The disappointment was The Fugue; last year’s Yorkshire Oaks heroine could not show the burst of acceleration that saw her beat Mukhadram at Royal Ascot. Jockey William Buick blamed the ground which had become loosened by rain.
Owned and bred by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and his wife Madeleine, their horse – still a winner of four Group One races – could reappear in the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
Simon Marsh, Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber’s racing manager, said: “The filly was absolutely fine last night and I’m pretty sure there is nothing wrong with her.
“It was a shame we had the shower earlier in the day, which made the ground a bit loose.
“We just have to move on.”
2004 Grand National-winning rider Graham Lee recorded another personal landmark when partnering the John Gosden-trained Pomology to victory in the Lancashire Oaks.
It was the North Yorkshire rider’s first Group Two win on the Flat after injury curtailed his National Hunt career.
“That was nice. She gave me a great ride,” said Lee after his mount fended off stable companion Sultanina with relative comfort.
“She kept it simple – she jumped, travelled and lengthened. It’s nice to sit on a horse of that calibre.”
Trainer Jamie Osborne is keen to let the dust settle before discussing future plans for Toast Of New York after his slightly disappointing effort in the Belmont Derby on Saturday.
The three-year-old was a brilliant winner of the UAE Derby on World Cup night at Meydan at the end of March and sidestepped a tilt at the Epsom Derby at Epsom last month in favour of a trip across the Atlantic.
Toast Of New York travelled smoothly to the home turn in the hands of Jamie Spencer, but was unable to sustain his finishing effort in the last quarter of a mile and passed the post in sixth.
“At the end of the day he was beaten five lengths in a Grade One, so he hasn’t performed disastrously. It just wasn’t what we expected,” said Osborne who grew up near Wetherby.