Galileo's Aikhal Surges To International Success


Aikhal Getty Images


Aidan O'Brien trainee Aikhal (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}–Diamond Fields {Ire}, by Fastnet Rock {Aus}), who ran fourth in last term's G3 Autumn S. and G1 Criterium International, came back off a 234-day sabbatical to finish last of 11 in this month's G1 St James's Palace S. at Royal Ascot and bounced back in style to register a career high in Saturday's G3 ARM Holding International S. on the G1 Irish Derby undercard. Stalking the pace in second until sent to the fore approaching the quarter-mile pole, the 20-1 chance quickened in style to poach a decisive advantage entering the final furlong and was ridden further clear in the closing stages to easily dismiss G3 Eyrefield S. winner and G1 Irish 2000 Guineas fifth Duke de Sessa (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Fr}) by an impressive 4 1/4 lengths.

“We thought this was a very good horse last year, but he got a hold up in the spring and he went to the [G1] St James's Palace without a run which is certainly not ideal,” the winning trainer revealed. “It was a slow pace [at Royal Ascot] and then they quickened and left him. Ryan [Moore] said maybe we ran the wrong horse in the [G1 Irish] Derby when he got off him. They went a strong gallop and Ryan couldn't believe how well he was going. He ran right through the line.” Moore added, “He's a lovely, little horse and has done that very well. He was off a long time and went straight into the St James's Palace. He stepped up to a mile-and-a-quarter today and got the trip very well. You'd be delighted with what he has done there and he has beaten some real solid older horses. He won well and they weren't getting anywhere near him. Hopefully, he has got a bright future from here.”

Aikhal, kin to a 2-year-old filly by Frankel (GB) and a yearling colt by Kingman (GB), is the first of three foals produced by G3 Gladness S. victrix Diamond Fields (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), who is a half-sister to G1 Irish Derby hero Latrobe (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) and stakes-winning G1 Investec Oaks, G1 Irish Oaks and G1 Pretty Polly S. placegetter Pink Dogwood (Ire) (Camelot {GB}). The March-foaled bay's second dam, Listed Bosra Sham Fillies' S. runner-up Question Times (GB) (Shamardal), is a half-sister to G3 Sceptre S. victrix and G1 Cheveley Park S. second Sunday Times (GB) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}), herself the dam of stakes-winning G3 Chipchase S. third Classical Times (GB) (Lawman {Fr}) and GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and GI Just A Game S. heroine Newspaperofrecord (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}).

Saturday, Curragh, Ireland
ARM HOLDING INTERNATIONAL S.-G3, €100,000, Curragh, 6-25, 3yo/up, 10fT, 2:08.15, gd.
1–AIKHAL (IRE), 123, c, 3, by Galileo (Ire)
1st Dam: Diamond Fields (Ire) (GSW-Ire, MGSP-US & SP-Eng, $225,664), by Fastnet Rock (Aus)
2nd Dam: Question Times (GB), by Shamardal
3rd Dam: Forever Times (GB), by So Factual
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN; 1ST GROUP WIN. O-Mary Slack, Coolmore & Westerberg; B-Wilgerbosdrift (UK) Ltd (IRE); T-Aidan O'Brien; J-Ryan Moore. €60,000. Lifetime Record: 6-2-1-0, $98,426. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Duke de Sessa (Ire), 126, c, 3, Lope de Vega (Ire)–Dark Crusader (Ire), by Cape Cross (Ire). (£60,000 RNA Ylg '20 GOFOR). O/B-Newtown Anner Stud Farm Ltd (IRE); T-Dermot Weld. €20,000.
3–Rumbles of Thunder (Ire), 132, f, 4, Night of Thunder (Ire)–Blanche Neige (GB), by Halling. 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE. (€77,000 Wlg '18 GOFNOV; 425,000gns Ylg '19 TATOCT; 100,000gns RNA 2yo '20 TATBRE; €390,000 RNA 3yo '21 ARQDEC). O/T-Paddy Twomey; B-F Killen (IRE). €10,000.
Margins: 4 1/4, HF, 1 1/4. Odds: 20.00, 6.50, 2.75.
Also Ran: Mac Swiney (Ire), Bear Story (Ire), Vega Magnifico (Ire), Visualisation (Ire). Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.


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