Hukum Denies Desert Crown In Barnstorming Brigadier Gerard

Hukum defeats Desert Crown | Getty Images


Thursday's G3 Brigadier Gerard S. was one for the comeback kids, but not the one most expected as Hukum (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}–Aghareed, by Kingmambo) overhauled Desert Crown (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) fair and square up the Sandown hill. As last year's Derby hero loomed large on the front end under Richard Kingscote two out, Jim Crowley was in a pocket on the Shadwell homebred who had over a length to make up as he gave pursuit a furlong later. While the 2-5 favourite Desert Crown put a healthy margin into the remainder on the climb to the line, the 5-1 second favourite was grabbing the ground to make up the deficit and reel him in late to prevail by half a length.

Coming off a day-longer absence and more serious injury than Desert Crown here, having been on the brink of retirement following his emphatic G1 Coronation Cup victory last June, the Owen Burrows-trained 6-year-old seems to have taken a leaf out of his brother Baaeed's book if this dynamic display was anything to come by. While Crowley was surprised by the manner in which Hukum has reinvented himself during his convalescence and rebuild, he admitted that the trainer had issued a warning of what was to come. “He'd been training well and Owen had said it was the best he'd ever known him,” he said. “He's almost got quicker. The ground was beautiful tonight and it was a very good performance in my opinion–when things are in his favour he's top drawer.”

“It was a mile and a quarter and things weren't really in our favour,” his rider added. “I think when he goes back up to a mile and a half he is just as good, if not better. When he gets that toe in a bit, he is an absolute machine. I'd love to see him in a King George in the summer, a wet King George, as I think that would be his thing. Owen's done well to get him back–he's done an amazing job with him.”

For Burrows, the result was the outcome of a prolonged labour of care and attention from all concerned with the winner, who was recording a seventh group win from this trip to a mile and three quarters. His first had come over an extended 13 furlongs in Newbury's G3 Geoffrey Freer S. three years ago, after which he was tried in the G1 St Leger only to not truly stay the trip. “It's a tremendous feeling for all who have been involved in his rehab–this has been a huge team effort,” he said. “He's a handful, a big strong horse so you have to keep your wits about you. He is so bullish.”

“His injury was gutting for everyone in the yard, but Sheikha Hissa did say early on if his it goes well he can come back to you,” he added. “We're in the [G2] Hardwicke and the King George–I didn't envisage the Eclipse and so didn't enter him, but it looks like he has developed a bit of speed from somewhere. He probably got pigeonholed a bit as a slow horse, but I've always said he is not. I know he has won over a mile and six, but he has always shown speed at home. What's vitally important for him is good ground, as good-to-firm is a no-go.”

“Plenty have come back from an injury like his, but he was a five-year-old that had just won a group one and I didn't think it would be in the realms that he could come back,” Burrows added. “He was my first Royal Ascot winner. He went to Dubai and won on Super Saturday which was massive for us. He was my first group one winner. I will find it hard to replace him when the time comes when he does head off to stud. He has been a star for the whole team and is an absolute legend.”

Desert Crown beat his third-placed stablemate and triple group-winning yardstick Solid Stone (Ire) (Shamardal) by 4 1/2 lengths, so this was a highly respectable return effort and confirmed he retains all the class he had shown at Epsom when last seen. Richard Kingscote was disappointed to have been usurped, but not totally downcast afterwards. “He was great–he moved well, got into a nice rhythm and settled good, then picked up well and did everything perfectly,” he said. “They are both very good horses and it was a very good comeback run–we'd obviously have liked to have won, but I'm happy with him. He showed the gears for ten again there to pick them up, but a good horse has come and got us.”

Sir Michael Stoute added, “He was a little ring-rusty. He looked as if he had his race won, but he just tied up in the closing stages. He has been a year off, which is a long time. There are two races he is in [at Royal Ascot], but we are not making a decision yet.”

Pedigree Notes

As mentioned, Hukum is a full-brother to the operation's outstanding, six-times group 1-winning Baaeed who before this day had looked by far the faster of the pair but by not so much now. Their dam, the Listed Prix de Liancourt scorer Aghareed, is out of the GI Breeders' Cup Fully & Mare Turf and GI Flower Bowl Invitational heroine Lahudood (GB) (Singspiel {Ire}). The fourth dam is the Listed Cheshire Oaks runner-up Bashayer (Mr. Prospector), a full-sister to the Listed Oh So Sharp S. scorer Sarayir who in turn produced the G1 1000 Guineas and G1 Coronation S. heroine Ghanaati (Giant's Causeway).

Ghanaati's son Mutasaabeq (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) has captured the G2 Joel S. and G2 Sandown Mile moved to Newmarket and was a respectable fifth in Saturday's G1 Lockinge S. They all stem from the remarkable Height Of Fashion (Fr), whose initial gift to the late Sheikh Hamdan was the star triumvirate of Nashwan, Nayef and Unfuwain. Aghareed's 3-year-old colt by Nathaniel (Ire) named Naqeeb (Ire) is on the improve after two starts, while she also has a 2-year-old colt by Night Of Thunder (Ire) named Waleefy (Ire) and a foal full-brother to Hukum and Baaeed.

Thursday, Sandown, Britain
RACEHORSE LOTTO BRIGADIER GERARD S.-G3, £80,000, Sandown, 5-25, 4yo/up, 9f 209yT, 2:08.92, gd.
1–HUKUM (IRE), 128, h, 6, by Sea The Stars (Ire)
     1st Dam: Aghareed (SW-Fr), by Kingmambo
     2nd Dam: Lahudood (GB), by Singspiel (Ire)
     3rd Dam: Rahayeb (GB), by Arazi
O/B-Shadwell Estate Company Limited (IRE); T-Owen Burrows; J-Jim Crowley. £45,368. Lifetime Record: G1SW-Eng & GSW-UAE, 16-10-1-2, $948,769. *Full to Baaeed (GB), MG1SW-Eng, G1SW-Fr, $3,398,976. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Desert Crown (GB), 128, c, 4, Nathaniel (Ire)–Desert Berry (GB), by Green Desert. (280,000gns Ylg '20 TATOCT). TDN Rising Star. O-Mr Saeed Suhail; B-Strawberry Fields Stud (GB); T-Sir Michael Stoute. £17,200.
3–Solid Stone (Ire), 128, g, 7, Shamardal–Landmark, by Arch. (360,000gns Ylg '17 TATOCT). O-Mr Saeed Suhail; B-Epona Bloodstock Ltd (IRE); T-Sir Michael Stoute. £8,608.
Margins: HF, 4HF, 3/4. Odds: 5.00, 0.40, 16.00.
Also Ran: Cash (Ire), Chichester (GB), Claymore (Fr).

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