Fine prospects waiting in the wings for Sheikh Hamdan

Tue 7th Apr 2020, 16:41

Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum
© Photo Healy Racing

Angus Gold, racing manager to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, is determined to remain positive during the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sheikh Hamdan enjoyed a successful 2019 — with stars such as Battaash and Mustashry winning at the highest level and other leading lights, including Enbihaar, Elarqam and Investec Derby runner-up Madhmoon winning Pattern races.

Some of those top performers remain in training for when racing does resume — whenever that might be.

“Before this started, I had various people saying they thought the horses looked as well as they had ever seen them at this time of year — considering everything,” said Gold.

“This is a setback if it goes on well into May and then into June. Then we’re talking about a different state of affairs altogether, and none of us knows, so there is no good speculating because we haven’t got got there yet.

“We’ve got to ride this out and just hope that things settle down enough to allow racing to start again in some guise, even if it is behind closed doors.”

Gold named three horses to look out for in Sheikh Hamdan’s familiar blue and white colours.

“There’s a nice horse, Molatham, with Roger Varian,” he said.

“He won a Listed race last year.

“We have a nice Sea The Stars colt with William Haggas called Al Aaasy and another Sea The Stars horse with Owen Burrows called Hukum, who won on his second start.

“There are a few who, if they improved a bit, could make up into nice horses.”

As with all strings, however, the hiatus has put all plans on hold.

Gold added: “We’ve got to see when we can start again, what format, how much we will lose and what format the season will take.

“Across the board, the trainers are doing a fantastic job ,and everyone is pulling together.

“It’s shown all of us we mustn’t take things for granted. Everything we’ve thought of as normal has been taken away in an instant.

“Of course it’s frustrating, but we have to put it into perspective and get our priorities right.

“There’s nothing we can do other than stay safe, hunker down and wait for things to calm down a bit.”

THE IRISH TIMES