Dubai: Barely has the dust settled on another sensational Royal Ascot festival that the flat racing spotlight switches to Newmarket as the home of British racing hosts an interesting three-day meeting this weekend, highlighted by the Group 3 Criterion Stakes.
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, emerged as the most successful owner at Ascot and will look to keep the winning-momentum going with several live chances entered across the 24 scheduled races.
Derby-winning handler Marcus Tregoning rolls out his stable flagbearer, Mohaather, who makes his seasonal bow in the seven-furlong Criterion which Sheikh Hamdan won in 2015 with Markaz.
The son of Whisbury Manor Stud’s top sire, Showcasing, returns to action following his seventh place effort in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes on the opening day of Royal Ascot, where he clearly needed the run.
Mohaather is a lightly raced four-year-old - having had just two starts last year where he won the Group 3 Greenham Stakes in April before suffering an injury which required surgery followed by recuperation at Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Stud.
The colt returned to training in the late summer before ending the season with a fine fifth place effort in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
Mohaather is likely to face some strong opposition in the form of Godolphin’s Space Blues and the evergreen Limato who won the Criterion last year.
Tregoning, who won the 2006 Epsom Derby with Sir Percy, has a robust squad of 23 two year olds include sixteen youngsters owned by his long-time patron Sheikh Hamdan.
Four of them are by Mohaather’s sire Showcasing, a prolific producer of progressive two year olds. Among them are Motarajja, a colt by Frankel out of Rumoushwho finished third in the Oaks and a Dark Angel colt, Ensyaaby and a Nayef filly, Taqseemaat.
Given the ammunition provided by Sheikh Hamdan, Marcus and his team are looking forward to having a profitable season this year.
Criterion Stakes (Group 3)
Newmarket Racecourse, Saturday, June 27
Mohaather 7/2 Space Blues 5 Limato 11/2
Safe Voyage 7 Mubtasim 9 Happy Power 10
Urban Icon 12 Vale of Kent12 Yafta12
Beat Le Bon 14 Sir Dancealot 14 D’Bai 16
Turjomaan 16 On The Warpath 20