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Newbury report: Alkumait gains impressive success in Mill Reef Stakes

Sat 19 Sep 2020

Alkumait ran out an impressive winner of the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

A quality field of eight colts went to post for the Group Two contest, with runaway Newcastle scorer Fivethousandtoone the narrow favourite at 5-2, ahead of Prix Morny third Rhythm Master at 3-1.

Beaten a length on his debut over the course and distance in July, the Marcus Tregoning-trained Alkumait looked an exciting horse in the making when winning on his second start at Goodwood, but nevertheless faced a significant step up in class on his return to Berkshire.

Drawn widest of all in stall one, the 8-1 shot was taken back by Jim Crowley after the starting stalls opened and settled at the rear of the field for much of the race.

However, he made quick headway to challenge for the lead entering the final furlong – and finished off strongly to hold Fivethousandtoone at bay by three-quarters of a length, with Rhythm Master almost three lengths further away in third.

Tregoning said of the winner: "It has been one of those nice upward curves with him. I worked him on some faster ground this week and I could see he was very good on it.

"He is not jarred and doesn't feel the ground and he will progress and go on."

Marcus Tregoning tells Alex Steedman more about Alkumait

The victory was a significant boost for the Derby-winning trainer following the enforced retirement of his stable star Mohaather last month due to injury.

He added: "I knew we had this one coming through (after Mohaather), we just had to keep him right.

"He's stabled right next door to my house. If he moves, like Mohaather did through the night, it wakes me up, but it is worth it."

Tregoning is keen to test Alkumait's stamina to see if he could be a contender for next year's 2000 Guineas over a mile.

He said: "There is a lot of speed on the dam's side, but if we are allowed, and everybody agrees, we will try to mould him to at least get seven furlongs and then after that we will see.

"If you could get him to drop in and settle, like he did today, there is every chance he will get a little bit further. I think that is the way to go. It opens up the game plan a bit. We could always come back to six furlongs.

"He was a little bit hairy going down to the start and a couple of times during the race the wind was blowing a bit and this little horse could hear the covers rattling. It's just a thing he has to get used to

"He couldn't have been more smooth through the race. He came from last to move up swiftly and he was going away at the end. I think he is pretty useful.

"When I saw him get loose one day was when I first thought he was good. He did injure one of my staff quite badly. He is just well made and has the same power down the saddle that Mohaather did - he is very similar.

"Sheikh Hamdan may want to put him away after today, but I'd be keen to run him in Group One company before the end of the season if there is a suitable race."

Elarqam bounces back

Elarqam got his career back on track with a front-running victory in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup at Newbury.

A son of Frankel out of the yard’s brilliant racemare Attraction, Mark Johnston’s has largely upheld family honour well, with Group Three and Group Two triumphs featuring among his five previous career wins.

However, since a promising start to the season when touched off by Lord North at Haydock, the five-year-old has disappointed in both the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and when bidding for back-to-back successes in the York Stakes.

Jim Crowley’s mount was a 2-1 shot for his latest assignment and led his three rivals from the off.

Admirable veteran Desert Encounter – winner of this Group Three contest in 2017 and 12 months ago – emerged as the biggest threat in the final furlong, but Elarqam dug deep to see him off by a length and a half.

Market leader Extra Elusive (6-4) was third, with Gifts Of Gold last of the quartet.

Johnston said: “It is great to see him back winning. It’s a shame it hasn’t been on a big day this year.

“If you look at his form last year, you would have said he should be winning a Group One this year and unfortunately it hasn’t fallen his way. We were running out of opportunities and that is why we came here, as there wasn’t really anywhere else to go. Everything has gone his way today, so it was good to see.

“It has been a frustrating season. When you look at his run in the Juddmonte last year, you would have said he showed there he was well and truly a Group One horse.

“With a pedigree like his, you would expect to see him get a Group One for a good stud job. I’m sure he will get a good stud job, but we want to see him get a good one, that is why it has been frustrating.

“I don’t think it matters where you run him. He is a bit lazy. If you think back to his best run this year at Haydock, given another 100 yards he would have got back up. He just gets a bit idle in front and needs something to aim at. If they sprint at him too quickly, it doesn’t give him time to respond.

“I don’t know what we do now to be honest. I just wanted to get another win back under his belt, but we are running out of opportunities.”

Lazuli rules the World

Lazuli registered the biggest victory of his career with a battling success in the Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes at Newbury.

The Charlie Appleby-trained Dubawi gelding made a triumphant return to five furlongs when claiming top honours in the Group Three prize.

Having sat just behind the pace for much of the race, the 5-2 shot moved into a lead he would not surrender inside the final furlong, pulling out plenty to defeat last-time-out Leicester scorer Tiz Marvellous by a length.

Buick said: “He was in good form today. He looked very promising at Sandown earlier in the year, then he disappointed there next time for no real apparent reason.

“He ran well in Deauville last time over six, which probably just stretches him slightly. Back to five today, conditions were ideal for him as it was good, fast ground.

“I think the day at Sandown he did boss the field, but clocked a good time and he gave me a great feel. He showed today he can fight for it as well against older sprinters.”

Assessing future plans, the Classic-winning rider believes Lazuli could be the ideal type to take to Dubai over the winter.

He said: “I think he would have to be on the team sheet for Dubai. He has done it well as it is tough for three year-old sprinters against older horses. He will be better next year.”

Balding colt strikes at 125-1

Andrew Balding saddled what he believes is the biggest-priced winner of his career in Oo De Lally, who defied his 125-1 odds to land the opening division of the Heatherworld Stud EBF Novice Stakes by three-quarters of a length.

Balding said: “I would have thought that is the biggest-priced runner I’ve trained as I can’t think of anything bigger.

“I quite liked him before Ascot, but he didn’t show a lot when he ran at Ascot. I thought he might be one for a bit further in time, but he knew his job today, travelled strong and got the job done.

“Somebody would have backed him as our horses tend to step up for their first runs. Someone in a betting shop somewhere in the country will be happy.”

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