Dubai: For the second successive day, Dubai connections revelled in Royal Ascot glory as Derby absentee Mohaafeth and Perfect Power delivered the goods while the great Stradivarius failed to keep his date with racing history in the Gold Cup (Group 1) on Thursday.
An outstanding son of Sea The Stars, Stradivarius was attempting to win Royal Ascot’s showpiece race for the fourth year, but could finish no better than fourth behind Subjectivist, who won the Dubai Gold Cup (G1) at Meydan Racecourse in March.
Mohaafeth, who was a late withdrawal from the Epsom Derby due to the soft ground conditions, grabbed the chance to display his class when taking apart his rivals in the Hampton Court Stakes.
Mohaafeth raced under the ownership of Shadwell, but all credit goes to the late Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the former Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, who made an astute purchase with the son of Frankel before handing him to Derby-winning handler William Haggas.
Commenting on Mohaafeth’s comeback victory and fourth on the trot, Haggas told ITV Racing “He’s only up to Group Three from Listed, but he’s a pretty good horse.
“I think if he’s going to go one way, he’ll go shorter, not longer. I was always concerned about the trip in the Derby, but there is only one of them and then when it rained it became, for me, an easier decision not to run him. That’s history now, let’s move on.
“He’s won a Listed and a Group Three, he’s not tackled an older horse yet so he’s got a lot to prove, but I think he’s got some talent,” added Haggas. “I think he’s pretty good. I don’t make comparisons with others, but he’s a useful horse. He’s always been a nice horse and he’s bred to be a good horse.
He’s in the Eclipse, he’s in lots of things and will continue to be in lots of things and we’ll see where we go. That’s obviously the first target.”
Meanwhile, Perfect Power won a thrilling renewal of the Norfolk Stakes in the colours of Sheikh Rashid Dalmouk Al Maktoum,under a beauty of a ride by Paul Hanagan.
A two-time former champion, Hanagan thought he may never race again after suffering a fractured vertebrae in a fall at Newcastle in February 2020, but has since worked his way back into the action.
“I don’t usually get emotional but lucky to be here at all after the accident. It’s just an amazing feeling. Pretty lost for words,” he said.
“Beautiful. I’m really going to enjoy it.”