Hukum camp set sights on Arc after King George heroics
Owen Burrows said on Sunday he was happy to wait for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on October 1 as the next target for King George hero Hukum.
Burrows was still revelling in the six-year-old’s top-class display in Saturday’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, which resulted in the winner being trimmed to 5-1 with BoyleSports for the Arc.
William Hill, Coral and Ladbrokes are 8-1, but that price is still short enough to make Hukum second favourite for the prestigious race at Longchamp.
His Ascot success completed a marvellous afternoon for Burrows, who also landed the Group 2 York Stakes with Alflaila.
Both horses have had injury setbacks in recent times and the trainer said: “They’re both fine this morning and have eaten up. They’ve had a nice pick of grass and trotted up fine, which is the main thing as well.”
A return to York next month for the Juddmonte International Stakes could be the objective for Alflaila, while Hukum, Burrows’ first Group 1 winner having won the Coronation Cup in 2022, seems destined to go straight to the Arc.
“The Arc is nine weeks away, but he had a hard enough race at Ascot and, without sounding cocky, we’re pretty confident we can get him there on the big day without a prep run,” the trainer said.
Hukum and Alflaila are Shadwell homebreds and the organisation’s Angus Gold said: “It was a fantastic day. The King George was a fabulous race and it was fantastic to see it live up to its billing, even if something went wrong with Auguste Rodin and Emily Upjohn didn’t run her race.
“It was extra special to see Hukum come out on top and we know he stays the Arc trip and handles softer ground. If those conditions prevail in October, they wouldn’t put him off. He’d be a genuine Arc contender and you don’t often get one of those.
“He would be one, along with Ace Impact and Feed The Flame, who would be the best of the three-year-old middle-distance colts in France.
“Sheikha Hissa might decide to run Hukum in the Champion Stakes, but we haven’t discussed that. We’ll have to see what conditions are like and how Mostahdaf is. We have options but Hukum is a legitimate contender for the Arc if that’s where Sheikha Hissa decides to go.”
Gold thought it unlikely Hukum would be kept in training next year, but Burrows will never forget a horse he is always likely to be synonymous with.
“If you can’t be happy to do an interview with the press after a day like yesterday there’s something wrong with you,” he said.
“It’s been crazy with the messages of congratulations and I’m still barely halfway through replying – I’ve got loads to do. My wife Lynn has gone away with our kids this morning to see some of our family in Newmarket, so I’ve got a good afternoon ahead of me to chill out and get through them all.”
A former jump jockey whose time with Martin Pipe coincided with Tony McCoy’s, Burrows worked for Sir Michael Stoute for a number of years before being headhunted by late Shadwell supremo Hamdan Al Maktoum.
“I hope yesterday will have made an impact,” he added. “Last year was a good year and we got a few new owners, so hopefully there are a few more knocking on the door and I’ll have to build some new boxes.
“It would be great to have 60-70 horses on the books. That would be a manageable number, especially with how hard it is with staffing, although I do have a wonderful team here.”
Courtesy of Racing Post