Thikriyaat to put Champions Day potential to test

Thikriyaat (front, centre) won the Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood

PICTURE: Mark Cranham ( Thikriyaat to put Champions Day
potential to test
By Stuart Riley 5:23PM 22 AUG 2016

SIR MICHAEL STOUTE'S Glorious Goodwood winner Thikriyaat will have his Queen Elizabeth II Stakes credentials tested in Saturday's Doom Bar Celebration Mile after owner Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum agreed to pay £10,000 to supplement the three-year-old to the field for the Group 2.

Thikriyaat has four wins and a second – in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot behind subsequent Group 1 winner Ribchester – to his name and earned quotes ranging from 14-1 to 20-1 for the Champions Day Group 1 after a half-length success in last month's Group 3 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes.

That win at Goodwood came over Saturday's course and distance, and the son of Azamour will have to finish in the top three on his first run in a Group 2 to see a return on the supplementary fee.

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A bold showing could confirm Ascot as Thikriyaat's autumn target. Angus Gold, Sheikh Hamdan's racing manager, said: "If he keeps progressing then obviously he could be [running on Champions Day], but he's got to take the next step.

"He hasn't disappointed us yet, so I don't see any reason why he won't take it, but whether he's up to a Group 1 – only time will tell. It's one step at a time for now – he's won a Group 3, we're trying Group 2 and then we'll see."

'The obvious race'

On Saturday's race, he added: "I think Michael [Stoute] felt this was a natural progression. We hadn't put him in initially but he's won at the track and he wants the distance. He's in the Park Stakes but that's seven furlongs but we thought we'd go a mile as he's a tough and genuine horse who is very much on the upgrade.

"We feel it's the right race for the horse. He worked well on Saturday and everyone's happy with him.

"He's a great horse because he just does enough every time so it's hard to tell how good he really is. I'm sure he'll get further but he's very much on the up and he's definitely a Group 2 horse on his rating."

How they bet

William Hill have priced up Thikriyaat as their 3-1 favourite, with Zonderland at 4-1. Lightning Spear and Toormore are 5-1, with So Beloved at 7-1 and Arod at 8-1. Breton Rock, Hathal and last year's runner-up Gabrial are 10-1.

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