August review: stars shine with big autumn targets in sight

A look back at another month of continued racecourse success
HUKUM: son of SEA THE STARS continued his fruitful campaign with an impressive victory at Newbury

Following a shock defeat in the American Oaks in July, superstar filly MALATHAAT returned to winning ways in August when taking the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga.

Despite stumbling out of the stalls and having a wide trip around the bend, the statuesque daughter of CURLIN had far too much class for her rivals, forging clear under John Velazquez to score by a length and a half.

The triple Grade 1 winner is being targeted at Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup meeting by trainer Todd Pletcher.

“Right now, we’re focused on the [Breeders’ Cup] Distaff, so we’ll zero in on that and take things from there,” Pletcher told the US press. “That’s the most likely scenario. Nothing’s etched in stone, but that’s sort of the plan that we discussed with Rick Nichols [Shadwell Farm vice president and general manager] a while ago.”

MALATHAAT: the CURLIN filly is being primed for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar

Closer to home, HUKUM maintained his rich vein of form when making it back-to-back victories in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.

A possible tilt at the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe has been mooted by the colt’s trainer Owen Burrows, although his next assignment could come in the Group 3 September Stakes at Kempton this weekend.

It could be a big weekend for the family, with HUKUM’s year-younger brother BAAEED, also by SEA THE STARS, set to line up in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin at Longchamp on Sunday.

SEA THE STARS is also the sire of Shadwell’s high-class four-year-old filly RAABIHAH, who boosted her own Arc claims with a taking success in the Group 2 Prix de Pomone at Deauville for John-Claude Rouget in August.

Although she holds an Arc entry, there is a possibility RAABIHAH could bid for Group 1 glory in the Prix de Royallieu, which is run over 1m6f on the same card.

Her pedigree suggests the extra couple of furlongs should be well within her compass, as she is out of a half-sister to ESWARAH, who stayed on strongly to take the Oaks at Epsom in 2005.

Other winners of note in August included the William Haggas-trained three-year-old MUJTABA, a son of DUBAWI and Group 1-winning sprinter MAJMU, who won a Chepstow novice stakes by four and a quarter lengths on debut at Chepstow. “He’s in excellent hands and is bred to be smart,” noted the Racing Post.

MAJMU is in foal to Group 1 Sussex Stakes hero and Nunnery Stud first-season stallion MOHAATHER.

Haggas was also responsible for MAHRAJAAN, a progressive three-year-old who overcame serious trouble in running before winning authoritatively by two and a quarter lengths at Hamilton to complete a hat-trick this summer.

MAHRAJAAN is by KITTEN’S JOY out of Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf heroine LAHUDOOD, making him a half-brother to AGHAREED, the dam of BAAEED and HUKUM. He has been allotted a mark of 95 following his latest success and could bid do defy that at Haydock on Saturday.

August also yielded several two-year-old winners. The Marcus Tregoning-trained RIBHI, a homebred son of DARK ANGEL from the family of BAHRI, overcame distinct signs of greenness to take a competitive looking six-furlong novice contest at Salisbury on debut.

Roger Varian’s filly MANAAFITH, a daughter of EXCEED AND EXCEL, broke her maiden in decisive fashion at Lingfield and holds an entry in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes.

IKHTIRAAQ, a brother to the talented but lightly raced MUTAAQEB, looks a winner in waiting after running a race full of promise when second at Salisbury on debut for Owen Burrows.