x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Ektihaam on same trail as Frankel

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid has trainer Roger Varian readying Ektihaam to follow the path Frankel has blazed.

Prince Khalid Abdullah's Frankel has set the benchmark for the rest.
Prince Khalid Abdullah's Frankel has set the benchmark for the rest.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's Ektihaam will be tasked with following in the path of the mighty Frankel when he lines up as one of nine colts entered in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

Sir Henry Cecil's colt graduated to success in this season's 1000 Guineas having won his first race at the headquarters of British racing before he won the Dewhurst Stakes last year.

It was Frankel's first attempt at Group 1 company and he passed the test with flying colours by defeating Aidan O'Brien's subsequent Irish Guineas winner, Roderic O'Connor, by just under three lengths.

At the time, he would have been worth around £10 million (Dh57m), and a similar valuation would be most favourable to several owners in the line-up.

John Manley, for instance, bought Trumpet Major for just €20,000 (Dh98,700) last year and will be hoping his colt can replicate the example set by Danedream, who became a surprise winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe a week ago.

To Sheikh Hamdan, however, the value of his horses is not paramount, as he looks to bolster his already impressive roster of stallions that operate under his Shadwell banner.

Sakhee, the 2001 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner, Nayef, who won the Dubai Sheema Classic a year later, and the prolific Green Desert, who has sired more than 40 Group or Graded winners, all provide a steady stream of talent for Sheikh Hamdan.

Ektihaam, though, was a purchase at Tattersalls sales in 2009.

The Sheikh will receive £179,770.70 if Ektihaam wins on the Dubai-sponsored card this afternoon, although given his significant investment he might have hoped for a more upbeat report from Roger Varian.

"Ektihaam has done nothing wrong on the track so far," the trainer said yesterday.

"He's a horse we like, and he has been working well at home, but on official ratings he has a big jump to make."

As for Frankel, he set alight the Newmarket gallops on Friday with an impressive display up against Bullet Train, his regular work companion and half-brother, as he limbers up for next weekend's Champions Day engagement at Ascot.

The pair worked once again at just under a mile and Frankel, who has been ridden by the jockey, Tom Queally, recently in preference to regular work rider Shane Featherstonhaugh, pulled five lengths clear of the former Group 3 victor.

sports@thenational.ae

@ For more HORSE RACING visit thenational.ae/topics