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Hamdan could pull off Group race double

Top owner has leading chances at DDF International Weekend at Newbury

Gulf News

Dubai: Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, can land a Group race double on day two of the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend at Newbury Racecourse in the UK.

Shaikh Hamdan, who is currently ranked a high third in the 2017 British Owners Championship with £2 million plus in prize money from over 90 winners, has leading chances in the afternoon’s two features races — the 1,200 metre DDF Mill Reef Stakes (G2) and the 1,000 metre Dubai International Airport World Trophy (G3).

He is represented by Ripon Listed scorer Enjazaat, the mount of his retained rider Jim Crowley, in the Mill Reef, a race that Shaikh Hamdan won in 2009 with Awzaan who would go on to land the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes on his subsequent start.

Trained by Owen Burrows at the Shaikh Hamdan-owned Kingwood House Stables in Lambourn, UK, Enjazaat has won two of his four career starts and is currently vying for favouritism with another Dubai-owned sprinter, Saeed Manana’s Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes runner-up Invincible Army who was an impressive winner of the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton Park two weeks ago.

In-form handler Clive Cox, who won this contest 12 months ago with Harry Angel, now owned by Godolphin, is well-represented with Grand Koonta, the mount of Adam Kirby.

Owned by the China Horse Club, Grand Koonta was a comfortable victor of a six-furlong novice event at Windsor on July 1 and has not raced since finishing eighth in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket on July 13 due to unsuitable ground.

Cox, who has enjoyed a 42 per cent strike rate over the last two weeks with 11 winners, said in a pre-event press release: “Grand Koonta is a very nice colt.

“We have been bit unlucky in that the ground has been a bit too easy for him on a couple of occasions over the last six weeks.

“Saturday’s race is obviously very hotly contested, but Grand Koonta is a horse we like a lot and it looks like the ground is going to be in his favour.”