Al Wukair enhanced his growing reputation as a top-class European 3-year-old when the brilliant son of Dream Ahead (USA) finished an unlucky minor placegetter in the Group 1 Newmarket 2000 Guineas (8f) overnight.
Sent to post the 11/2 third favourite of the first Classic event of the 2017 European racing season, Al Wukair was disadvantage by a slow pace in the time honoured contest and was ultimately seen doing all of his best work over the closing stages, improving his position from the tail of the field to finish just over a length behind the winner Churchill.
Speaking on behalf of the brilliant colt’s owners, Al Shaqab Racing’s spokesperson Harry Herbert observed after the feature: “He ran a hell of a race, but the pace was so slow.”
Herbert continued: “He would be much better off a stronger-run race. As a result, he [jockey Gregory Benoist] had to come wide and there was nothing to follow. He has done very well, all things considered.
“Hats off to the winner, but in a faster run race, you’d like to take him on again. It is just frustrating and very hard to quicken off a slow pace.”
Al Wukair’s fast finishing third was lauded in many quarters and Herbert clearly hadn’t lost any faith in the son of Dream Ahead in the aftermath of his first defeat. Herbert went on to suggest that Al Wukair will probably be next seen in action at Royal Ascot.
“There will be other days and he is a very good horse,” remarked Herbert. “It is a long season ahead and who knows, next year as well. It is very likely that he will come back to the St James’s Palace Stakes. We will talk to Andre [Fabre] and let the dust settle.”
Al Wukair has only raced on four occasions and is already a dual stakes winner and Group 1 placegetter. He becomes the second son of Dream Ahead to boast European Group 1 performance following Donjuan Triumphant’s second placing in last season’s Deauville Prix de Gheest (G1).