An unbeaten son of Dream Ahead (USA) raced right into Group 1 2000 Guineas calculations when Al Wukair scored a scintillating first-up success in the Group 3 Djebel Stakes (1400m) at Maisons-Laffitte overnight.
The winner of both his two starts as a 2-year-old, including a Listed event at Deauville right at the backend of last year, Al Wukair resumed in one of the traditional European Classic trials and produced an exceptional winning performance.
Ridden with great confidence at the back of the seven-horse field, Al Wukair was asked to make his winning challenge with 300 metres to race and essentially had the event won in a matter of strides. The brilliant son of Dream Ahead scored by a ridiculously easy one-length winning margin, comfortably defeating last year’s Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1) winner National Defense in to second place.
Trained by the French maestro Andre Fabre, the celebrated horseman stated in post-race interviews: "I think it was a useful race and I was delighted by the style in which he won. Gregory [Benoist] was niggling all the time but when he picked him up he quickened really well. I am happy and the second is a pretty good horse."
Fabre added: "I realise that seven furlongs is a bit sharp for him so, with all that put together I am happy and we will go for the Guineas.”
Such was the manner of the performance, Al Wukair was cut from 14/1 to 5/1 for this year’s Newmarket 2000 Guineas. He is now a clear second favourite in many markets behind last year’s European Champion 2YO, Churchill.
Al Wukair is raced by Al Shaqab Racing. He was a 200,000 guineas Tattersalls October Yearling Sale purchase in 2015 and is from a winning daughter of Machiavellian and the French Oaks (G1) heroine Caerlina (by Caerleon).