Alkumait claims clear-cut Mill Reef verdict

Alkumait (left) was a handy winner of the Mill Reef at Newbury
Alkumait (left) was a handy winner of the Mill Reef at Newbury - (Copyright PA Wire)
16:19pm, Sat 19 Sep 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Alkumait ran out an impressive winner of the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

A quality field of eight colts went to post for the Group Two contest, with runaway Newcastle scorer Fivethousandtoone the narrow favourite at 5-2, ahead of Prix Morny third Rhythm Master at 3-1.

Beaten a length on his debut over the course and distance in July, the Marcus Tregoning-trained Alkumait looked an exciting horse in the making when winning on his second start at Goodwood, but nevertheless faced a significant step up in class on his return to Berkshire.

Drawn widest of all in stall one, the 8-1 shot was taken back by Jim Crowley after the starting stalls opened and settled at the rear of the field for much of the race.

However, he made quick headway to challenge for the lead entering the final furlong – and finished off strongly to hold Fivethousandtoone at bay by three-quarters of a length, with Rhythm Master almost three lengths further away in third.

Tregoning said of the winner: “It has been one of those nice upward curves with him. I worked him on some faster ground this week and I could see he was very good on it.

“He is not jarred and doesn’t feel the ground and he will progress and go on.”

Marcus Tregoning with the now-retired Mohaather - (Copyright PA Wire)

The victory was a significant boost for the Derby-winning trainer following the enforced retirement of his stable star Mohaather last month due to injury.

He added: “I knew we had this one coming through (after Mohaather), we just had to keep him right.

“He’s stabled right next door to my house. If he moves, like Mohaather did through the night, it wakes me up, but it is worth it.”

Tregoning is keen to test Alkumait’s stamina to see if he could be a contender for next year’s 2000 Guineas over a mile.

He said: “There is a lot of speed on the dam’s side, but if we are allowed, and everybody agrees, we will try to mould him to at least get seven furlongs and then after that we will see.

He is just well made and has the same power down the saddle that Mohaather did

“If you could get him to drop in and settle, like he did today, there is every chance he will get a little bit further. I think that is the way to go. It opens up the game plan a bit. We could always come back to six furlongs.

“He was a little bit hairy going down to the start and a couple of times during the race the wind was blowing a bit and this little horse could hear the covers rattling. It’s just a thing he has to get used to

“He couldn’t have been more smooth through the race. He came from last to move up swiftly and he was going away at the end. I think he is pretty useful.

“When I saw him get loose one day was when I first thought he was good. He did injure one of my staff quite badly. He is just well made and has the same power down the saddle that Mohaather did – he is very similar.

“Sheikh Hamdan may want to put him away after today, but I’d be keen to run him in Group One company before the end of the season if there is a suitable race.”

Sign up to our newsletter