Hukum has been retired and will join Darley’s stallion roster at Hokkaido in Japan.

Trained expertly by Owen Burrows, the six-year-old is a full-brother to the brilliant Baaeed, also owned by Shadwell.

The winner of 11 of his 18 races, he won twice at Group One level. Having beaten Pyledriver by over four lengths in the 2022 Coronation Cup, he looked set for a stellar season but unfortunately suffered a career-threatening injury.

Nursed back to health by the Shadwell team and Burrows, he beat last year’s Derby winner Desert Crown in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes before claiming victory in a thrilling King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes over Westover.

Burrows said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to train Hukum over the last four seasons.

“I will forever be in his debt as he has brought my career to a whole new level. His enthusiasm for work and racing made my job easy.

“His win in the Coronation Cup by over four lengths and King George win this year showed off all his fine attributes perfectly. Class, guts and will to win. That race will live long in, not just mine, but many racing fans’ memory for years to come.

“A superb looking and athletic individual, a full-brother to Baaeed, whom I’m sure will be very popular with breeders in Japan.”

Stephen Collins, Shadwell’s European Bloodstock Manager, told “Shadwell are delighted that Hukum, a full-brother to Baaeed, the highest-rated turf horse in the last decade, will stand at Darley Japan.

“Hukum has all the attributes to be a hugely successful stallion. A top-class racehorse, possessing a wonderful physique, he hails from one of Shadwell’s most successful families tracing back to the highly influential broodmare Height Of Fashion.

“We are thrilled that Japanese breeders will be able to avail of such a wonderful bloodline that his late HH Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and his family have developed and maintained at the highest level over the last 40 years.

“Sheikha Hissa and her family very much look forward to following Hukum’s new career very closely and it wouldn’t surprise me if Shadwell were to support him with some high-quality broodmares going forward as he is held in the highest regard by us all.”

Hukum will have to overcome an unfavourable draw in stall 14 if he is to triumph in Sunday’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp.

The Owen Burrows-trained six-year-old won the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot when last seen in July, having beaten Derby hero Desert Crown in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown, when both horses were returning from long absences.

However, Hukum did not enjoy much luck in Thursday’s draw ceremony, with only Simca Mille on his outside in a 15-strong field.

Two winners have emerged from stall 14 since 2000, with Frankie Dettori producing a memorable ride aboard Golden Horn in 2015 and Dalakhani winning under Christophe Soumillon in 2003.

Hukum’s big-race pilot Jim Crowley will now be studying the tapes of the heroics of his weighing-room colleagues ahead of his ride aboard the Shadwell-owned contender in the French capital.

“I’m sure Jim will be doing all that, but there’s absolutely nothing we can do,” said Angus Gold, racing manager for the owners.

“Golden Horn had a lot of tactical speed, he went forward and stayed out wide and got a brilliant ride.

“There is no point making a fuss about it as there is nothing we can do.

“We’ll just have to work around it, see how he breaks and go forward and hope to slot in somewhere.”

Ante-post favourite Ace Impact, winner of the Prix du Jockey Club for Jean-Claude Rouget, enjoyed much better fortune in stall eight, with St Leger winner Continuous, who was supplemented at a cost of €120,000 on Wednesday, next to him in stall seven for Aidan O’Brien.

The Ralph Beckett-trained Westover, beaten just a head by Hukum at Ascot, will be on the inside in stall one, with Free Wind – Dettori’s final Arc mount – in three for John and Thady Gosden.

Bay Bridge, representing Sir Michael Stoute, completes the British and Irish challenge in stall six under Richard Kingscote.

German Derby and Prix Niel victor Fantastic Moon was also supplemented and he will be in stall 12, with fellow German raiders Mr Hollywood and Sisfahan in 10 and 13 respectively.

Prix Niel second Feed The Flame and Japanese runner Through Seven Seas are also drawn low in two and five, with Haya Zark (four), Onesto (nine) and Place Du Carrousel (11) rounding out the field.

Coral trimmed Ace Impact to 100-30 from 7-2 following the draw, while Hukum was edged out to 5s from 9-2.

The firm’s David Stevens said: “Ace Impact’s connections can have few complaints about drawing stall eight, and it’s a draw that will probably ensure the unbeaten colt is sent off favourite on Sunday, especially as his biggest market rival, Hukum, appears to have been done few favours with a wide draw in 14.”

The ground at ParisLongchamp is expected to be good to soft, with a reported 25 per cent chance of light rain on either Thursday or Friday and no watering planned.

Owen Burrows considers Hukum’s light campaign to be a help and not a hindrance ahead of his bid for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The Shadwell-owned colt has been seen just twice this year, winning the Brigadier Gerard Stakes after almost a year off the track when making his seasonal debut in May.

He defeated Derby hero Desert Crown on that occasion and subsequently side-stepped Royal Ascot as the ground was unsuitably quick.

That left the horse off the track for 65 days when he lined up for a hugely-competitive renewal of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, but the absence did nothing to stop him edging out Ralph Beckett’s Westover by a head in thrilling finish.

There will be gap of a similar length between that performance and Sunday’s race and with the bay proven to go well fresh, Burrows has few concerns about his sparse season.

He said: “I’m more than happy to bring him in off the back of his King George win, he’s proven as he won first time in Dubai last year on Super Saturday.

“He won the Brigadier Gerard and then we weren’t able to run at Royal Ascot as the ground was a bit quick, so he went to the King George after a bit of a break.

“He’s obviously a horse who runs well fresh and we’re confident we can get him there in a good spot.”

Burrows has been satisfied with Hukum’s work since he was last seen on track, and is especially pleased with how he seems to be thriving at six after a serious injury robbed him of a year of racing following his 2022 Coronation Cup victory.

“We’ve been very pleased with him, obviously that (the King George) was at the end of July so he’s had a nice easy couple of weeks after that,” the trainer said.

“We’ve had a nice amount of time to slowly bring him up for this very important race now.

“I think it’s pretty obvious to see with his form this year that he is better than ever, it looked last season like he was on the up when he won the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

“Unfortunately he picked up his injury there, which stopped his season, but from an early stage this year when we started working him again, he showed all his old enthusiasm and his work was better than ever.

“For whatever reason he looks as though he’s found a bit from somewhere this year, he was able to win the Brigadier Gerard over a mile and a quarter. He certainly is as as good as ever.”

Ace Impact and Hukum are among 15 horses to stand their ground for the the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp on Sunday following the first forfeit stage.

French Derby hero Ace Impact is the clear favourite to provide trainer Jean-Claude Rouget with his second victory in Europe’s premier middle-distance contest, following the success of Sottsass three years ago, but looks set to face a strong challenge from across the Channel.

The Owen Burrows-trained Hukum and Ralph Beckett’s Westover look the pick of the British contingent, with both having been kept fresh since their titanic tussle in the King George at Ascot in July.

Sir Michael Stoute’s Bay Bridge and John and Thady Gosden’s Free Wind, the potential final Arc ride for Frankie Dettori, also remain in contention.

Aidan O’Brien has left in Emily Dickinson, but on Sunday indicated she is likely to head for the Prix du Cadran instead, paving the way for his St Leger hero Continuous to be supplemented on Wednesday.

Irish hopes could also be carried by Sprewell from Jessica Harrington’s yard.

Other contenders for the home team include Pascal Bary’s Grand Prix de Paris hero Feed The Flame, last seen finishing second in the Prix Niel, and Simca Mille from Stephane Wattel’s yard.

The latter has won twice and finished second twice from four visits to the track and was last seen breaking his Group One duck in the Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten in August.

Wattel said: “I have to say everything is fine, he’s in good shape and he has done some nice work. We are expecting good ground, which is important for him, and really I am happy with his condition.

“I don’t think we will have heavy ground and that would have been a reason not to run.

“I am really happy to have a runner in the Arc, not a first (top) chance but a fair chance to run well, which is exciting for us as a stable.

“He loves Longchamp and has always run very well there, which gives us a little more expectation than if we were running in England.

“I know the quality of the English horses and I know the quality of the two three-year-old French horses (Ace Impact and Feed The Flame), but our horse is running on his best racetrack and hopefully his best ground, so that gives us a little more chance.”

The German pair of Sisfahan and Mr Hollywood (Henk Grewe), Japan’s Through Seven Seas (Tomohito Ozeki), Haya Zark (Adrien Fouassier), Onesto (Fabrice Chappet) and Place Du Carrousel (Andre Fabre) are the others in the mix.

Jim Crowley has been banned for 20 days and fined £10,000 for his winning ride aboard Hukum in Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Both Crowley and Rob Hornby, who finished second aboard Westover, were referred to the British Horseracing Authority’s Whip Review Committee following a duel to the line in the midsummer highlight, with Hukum prevailing by a head.

Flat riders are allowed to use their whip six times in a race, with a four-day ban for going one over the limit and seven days for going two over. Crowley used his whip nine times, which incurs a 10-day ban and is doubled for a class one race.

Had Crowley used his whip four times over the limit then Hukum would have been disqualified.

The rider will be banned August 15-21 and August 23 – September 4, meaning he misses the Ebor meeting at York, where he was due to ride runaway Prince of Wales’s Stakes winner Mostahdaf in the Juddmonte International. He also received the substantial fine due to the class and value of the race.

On Monday the whip rules were tweaked once more by the BHA following a six-month review period and while the changes would not have affected Crowley’s punishment due to the severity of his offence, Hornby has benefitted from the revisions.

He used his whip once above the permitted level, but given he has had more than 200 rides in Britain since his last whip offence, his initial ban was cut to two days. However, that is then doubled due to the calibre of race, meaning he will be out of action for four days (August 15-18 inclusive).

Had the rules not been changed 24 hours previously, Hornby would have had an eight-day suspension imposed.

Owen Burrows feels he has a lot to thank Hukum for as he prepares to send his King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes champion straight to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The six-year-old has won 11 of his 17 career starts and it was somewhat fitting that having provided the Lambourn-based handler with both his first Royal Ascot and Group One winner, Hukum was front and centre once again as Burrows enjoyed his finest hour in the training ranks.

Having downed last year’s Derby winner Desert Crown on his comeback from a career-threatening injury sustained when winning the 2022 Coronation Cup, Baaeed’s brother was at the peak of his powers in the hands of Jim Crowley in Ascot’s midsummer showpiece to tee up a trip to Paris on the first Sunday in October.

As short as 6-1 for the Arc, Burrows is determined to enjoy Hukum while he can as he begins to dream of victory in Europe’s richest middle-distance contest.

He said: “I owe him a lot. He’s been around for a while, he was my first Royal Ascot winner and my first Group One winner.

“We travelled him to Dubai after the sad passing of Sheikh Hamdan and that was a big thing for him to win over there on Super Saturday as well.

“He’s been a tremendous horse in my career and he’ll be very hard to replace, but we’ll enjoy him while we can.”

He went on: “He’s all well this morning. He ate up and he’s been out and had a lead out and a nice pick of grass and trotted up sound, so touch wood all good.

“The Arc is something like eight weeks today and that is the obvious plan now. The plan has always been King George in the summer and then trying to get him to France in the beginning of October and now we can start dreaming.”

All of Hukum’s victories have come on ground no quicker than good and having proven very effective with a little cut in the ground, there are plenty of positive signs ahead of Hukum’s autumn visit to the French capital for a race often run in testing conditions.

Burrows added: “He would go on faster ground and it was pretty quick in the Sheema Classic when he was only beaten a length and three-quarters.

“But he’s obviously had a hard enough race there yesterday and knowing we can get him cherry ripe following a layoff, I don’t think we need to be giving him a prep run.

“I would love to get him to the Arc and I think we would be talking about soft ground. Yesterday Jim (Crowley) felt it was a little bit dead ground, there wasn’t a lot of life in it. He handles most ground, but he obviously handles soft ground very well and we can dream.”

Hukum’s victory came just 25 minutes after another of Burrows’ Farncombe Down string, Aflaila, landed the Group Two York Stakes to give the handler a fantastic cross-card Group-race double.

He has been inundated with congratulatory messages since and admits it did take some time for the achievement to sink in.

“It’s been quite busy and I’m literally sitting down trying to work through all the messages, but it is going to take me a while,” said Burrows.

“I’ll admit yesterday I was a bit shellshocked, but now it is finally sinking in and what a day, what a great day.

“I’ve not been at it too long (training), but it was well documented this horse (Hukum) was injured at Epsom last year and to get him back to this level is a huge team effort. From the guys at Shadwell who rehabbed him, to my guys here at Farncombe, it’s a big big team effort.”

Sport does not always scale the heights anticipated. Yet inarguably, with toes hanging off the edge, this King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes offered an epic view.

One wishes more dare scale the steep, magnificent Ascot grandstand steps to witness such an incredible spectacle of rippling thoroughbred power.

On such occasions, one has a vague idea of what will unfold before the eyes. This was refreshingly different, there was not an inkling what to expect from either racegoers or participants.

“No-one is ducking it,” Hukum’s jockey Jim Crowley succinctly put it beforehand, “which means everyone fancied their chances.”

None more so than him, as it turned out.

This season’s search for such a clash of the crème de la crème had reached the rainbow’s end, for this was as close to nirvana as a horse race gets.

There had been very little swinging and missing. Emily Upjohn had won the Coronation, with runner-up Westover subsequently taking the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

Reigning champion Pyledriver had scored with ease on his belated comeback in the Hardwicke, dual Derby winner Auguste Rodin had only been luckless in the 2000 Guineas, and the other young pretender, King Of Steel, had gained compensation for a narrow Epsom defeat by taking the King Edward VII over course and distance. Luxembourg had a Tattersalls Gold Cup in the locker.

All in good form. Connections, to a man, hopeful if not confident, even given the unseasonably good to soft ground.

Superlatives are dangerous things, often inviting contradiction and sometimes scorn. Yet from overture to curtain, what unfolded was a drama for the ages, perhaps not quite on a par with Grundy and Bustino in 1975, yet ovation-worthy, nonetheless.

The bare result saw Hukum beat Westover by a head. King Of Steel was a further four and a half lengths back in third, with Auguste Rodin beaten before the race got started, suggesting something more than the ground was amiss.

Crowley had tasted some extraordinary moments with Hukum’s full brother Baaeed. Yet after a monumental battle with the doughty Westover for the last two furlongs, Rob Hornby’s mount matching the six-year-old blow for lung-busting blow, and having come out on top, the victor knew he had been part of another historic race.

“This was special,” said Crowley. “It was a great race to be part of. I knew going into the race, I wouldn’t swap him – and every jockey in the race said the same about their horse.

“Hence why everybody turned up as we all thought we could win.

“It was amazing, really. Both myself, the horse, Rob Hornby and Westover, were giving it everything. The kitchen sink is thrown in those situations.

“It must have been exciting to watch. To come out on top, it was fantastic, probably the most enjoyable race I’ve ever won. It was a race for the ages – just fantastic.”

Crowley’s ride was masterful. There were plenty in with chances as they swung six abreast round the home turn tracking Pyledriver. While he had to be reminded, Hukum lengthened his stride with a sudden explosive power that is flat racing’s most exhilarating sight.

Pyledriver and King Of Steel both ran their races, but while Crowley was was happily deciding they were beaten, he knew with greater certainty that once Westover had almost drawn upsides, the game could well have been up.

Yet the former champion has been here before and once Westover had served it up, Hukum had locked on to the task in hand and knocked it out of the park.

“The ground had dried out more than I was hoping for, but he is not essentially a soft-ground horse – he just likes good ground,” Crowley added.

“He missed the Hardwicke, which was good to firm and that was a good decision.

“He is just a very good horse who is getting better with age. He is finally coming out of his brother’s shadow now.

“He is just hard as nails, he is chilled, walks round the paddock like he owns the place – he’s a real dude.

“In some ways he’s flown under the radar, as he is a six-year-old, who has just won that one Group One, but if you go through his form, he hasn’t finished out the first three many times. He is a proper, tough horse.”

Hukum will likely be given a break, before being brought back for ParisLongchamp.

“You’d have to say the obvious race would be the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe now,” said Crowley. “He would get his conditions there and you always need a bit of luck round there – a low draw is very important. But let’s enjoy today – this was special.”

His victims offered no excuses, this was just a rare and precious thing – an entirely satisfactory all-aged midsummer highlight, won by the best horse and a great rider. This was as good as it gets.

Hukum edged out Westover in a pulsating renewal of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes.

A field of 10 runners went to post for the Ascot’s midsummer highlight and the mile-and-a-half contest was rightly billed as the race of the season so far.

Last year’s Coronation Cup hero Hukum was a 13-2 shot after returning from injury to see off the 2022 Derby hero Desert Crown in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown in May.

Always travelling well in the middle of the pack under Jim Crowley, the six-year-old moved up to challenge Westover for the lead passing the two-furlong marker and the pair settled down to fight it out from there.

No quarter was given by either horse or jockey, but it was the Owen Burrows-trained Hukum who just found most for pressure to win a race for the ages by a head.

King Of Steel was best of the rest in third ahead of Luxembourg in fourth and the defending champion Pyledriver in fifth.

The disappointment of the race was dual Derby winner Auguste Rodin. The 9-4 favourite was trapped wide throughout, came under pressure racing down the back straight and weakened quickly before being eased right down by Ryan Moore, eventually passing the post in last place.

An emotional Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell, told Sky Sports Racing: “Amazing, a huge, fantastic result.

“What a horse he is to come back from a serious injury, they did brilliantly at the stud to get him back, and Owen has been very patient with him.

“It means a great deal to Sheikha Hissa, with the horse bred by her father (Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum).”

Hukum’s jockey Jim Crowley is excited to be part of Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth II Qipco Stakes and hailed one of the deepest renewals in recent years as “great for the sport”.

The Group One Ascot showpiece looks set to feature Derby one-two Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel, last year’s Epsom hero Desert Crown, defending champion Pyledriver and the first two home from the Coronation Cup, Emily Upjohn and Westover among others.

The Owen Burrows-trained Hukum, who won last year’s Coronation Cup before injury sidelined him for a year, returned to defeat Desert Crown in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown in May.

With the ground currently described as good, good to soft in places at Ascot and rain forecast on Wednesday evening, connections of the Shadwell-owned Hukum are growing increasingly confident that the six-year-old will handle the white-hot opposition.

Crowley is happier when he lets his riding do the talking and the former champion jockey knows the quality of the opposition could not be higher.

“All I can say is that Hukum is in great form. It is a very, very good race – the best King George I’ve seen on paper for a long, long time, and it is great to be part of it,” he said.

“The horse is in great form going into the race and that is all we can ask for. If he is good enough, he is good enough.

“It is great to be part of it and great to be riding a horse with a chance in it.”

Hukum goes into the contest as the winner of six of his last eight races. The two defeats came by a head to Hamish in the September Stakes at Kempton in 2021 and by a length and three-quarters to Shahryar in the 2022 Dubai Sheema Classic.

After making a pleasing return at Sandown and following sustained support in recent days, he is now vying for favouritism with Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel with some bookmakers.

Crowley has ridden in most of the top races around the world, yet sees the mile and a half midsummer spectacular as one of the most eagerly-anticipated in recent times.

“I’m the same as all the other jockeys, really – it is going to be very exciting for a lot of people to watch and it is going to be very exciting to ride in it, but on the other hand, it is very important,” he said.

“It is great for the sport – it is what people want, isn’t it? It is our version of the Arc.

“No-one is ducking it, so that means everyone fancies their chances. It is when they don’t fancy their chances they start ducking it.”

Crowley added: “We are very happy with him and very respectful of the opposition, because it is a very good race. Any rain would not be a negative, it would be beneficial to him.”

Hukum’s connections will be content, with almost their ideal ground conditions on the cards.

Ascot’s clerk of the course Chris Stickels is expecting overnight rain into Thursday.

Speaking at 4pm on Wednesday, he said: “The going is good on the straight course, and good (good to soft in places) on the round course. We had two millimetres of rain on Monday and have not had any since.

“We are expecting rain this evening and through the night. The ground would be getting quicker as we speak – it would be getting close to good to firm now in places – but obviously it is going to rain, so, we won’t see that change. We are expecting between seven and 15 millimetres.

“Until we get the rain we don’t know what the going will be but 12 millimetres will probably make us good to soft.”

Hukum remains on target for what looks set to be a mouthwatering edition of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot on July 29.

Owen Burrows’ stable star was forced to miss the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot due to the prevailing quick ground given he had only recently come back from a serious injury.

He clearly retains all his ability, though, as on his first outing for 356 days he toppled the hitherto unbeaten Desert Crown in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown.

The Hardwicke was ultimately won by William Muir and Chris Grassick’s Pyledriver, last year’s King George victor, and he will be lying in wait again. Hukum already has one verdict over him in last year’s Coronation Cup.

Also on course for the King George at present are this year’s Derby one-two Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel, plus Coronation Cup winner Emily Upjohn, with the possibility of Desert Crown, Luxembourg and Westover running, too.

“Touch wood, everything is going well and he’ll be running in the King George,” said Burrows.

“We’d like to see some rain, of course, we’d never want to go on rattling quick.

“It was frustrating to miss the Hardwicke with him, but the King George is the big one for him.

“The King George has always been about the clash of the generations and this year that looks especially the case. We’ll see what turns up, but it looks like this year it is going to be a proper race.

“We were really pleased with him at Sandown, we’ve been happy with how he’s been since, so we’re really looking forward to running him.”

Hukum, who bypassed Royal Ascot because of the fast ground, will now be aimed at the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Trainer Owen Burrows decided to withdraw Sandown’s Brigadier Gerard winner from the Hardwicke Stakes, after the ground tightened up throughout the week.

Hukum beat last season’s Derby winner Desert Crown in his scintillating return to action following a year off, having sustained a potentially career-ending hind-leg fracture during his victory in last year’s Coronation Cup at Epsom.

Connections felt they did not want to risk him in the race won by last year’s King George hero Pyledriver.

However, Shadwell’s longstanding racing manager Angus Gold is keen to take on the Hardwicke winner in the 12-furlong highlight on July 29.

“Hukum will run if and when we get some rain,” said Gold. “It was a touch and go situation yesterday.

“We were longing to run him, but Owen just felt in the end that while we could run him and he could win it, he might come back a bit sore after it and we’d all look silly.

“We kept him in training and spent a lot of time getting him right again after his injury last year and he just felt it was too big a risk. It is frustrating but sensible.

“Very much the idea is the King George. If the ground was good or even if it was good to firm, we might have to take a chance. That’s the big day. We will see how we are going nearer the time.”

Meanwhile, Burrows’ Prix d’Ispahan winner Anmaat is being primed for the Coral-Eclipse on Saturday week, although Prince of Wales’s Stakes hero Mostahdaf will swerve the race.

Gold said: “We had a winner which was a very important winner. Touch wood, Mostahdaf has come out of it very good. I spoke to John Gosden yesterday and he says he is bouncing.

“John is absolutely right and said that we know this horse is good fresh. He has run plenty of horses back two weeks later, thinking you have had plenty of time, and they come out and run flat.

“Particularly as we have done that with Al Asifah, I think we will be sitting still with Mostahdaf and hopefully get him to York in the same form in August.”

He added: “The Eclipse is off the cards for Mostahdaf. We still have Anmaat in, ground permitting. If he’s in good form and conditions look suitable, hopefully we will go there with him.”

Promising three-year-old filly Al Asifah, who won her first two starts, including a runaway success in a Listed 10-furlong contest at Goodwood earlier this month, will be held back after a disappointing sixth to Warm Heart when odds-on for the Ribblesdale Stakes on Thursday.

Supplemented for the Group Two contest for her first try over 12 furlongs, just 11 days after her second start, she raced wide but did not pick up when jockey Jim Crowley asked the question.

Gold said: “Everyone has different opinions on Al Asifah, but to me she was just flat.

“Jim said he was never really happy with her, never really comfortable. I see all the experts saying she didn’t stay – she wouldn’t have won at a mile and a quarter.

“I don’t care what anybody says, at Goodwood she ran right through the line and here she was struggling from two out.

“She had only had two runs before, but she was just a bit more on her toes before. It was only 11 days after her previous run and everything has happened quite quickly for her. It could be a combination of things, but for me, she didn’t run her race.

“When you see how she picked up and ran through the line at Goodwood, she didn’t pick up and run anywhere at Ascot. It was fairly obvious it wasn’t the same run.

“We’ll give her a break now and get her back in the autumn. I still think she will be a very nice filly. We haven’t even discussed targets. We will give her some gentle downtime, three weeks or so, then bring her back and take it from there.”

Similarly, Mutasaabeq, who won the Group Two bet365 Mile at Newmarket on his return to action before a three-length defeat in the Lockinge at Newbury, will be given more time after finishing with just one behind him in the Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday.

“Mutasaabeq is a funny horse,” Gold said of the Charlie Hills-trained five-year-old. “He runs well fresh.

“We tried to hang on to him this time to see if that helped, but it almost seemed he sulked and just went nowhere.

“We’ll see what there is for him, but we will just give him a bit of time now. He’s had three runs relatively quickly, but he’s the sort of horse who could easily come out and win another Group Two later in the year.”

Quickening conditions are the only concern for trainer Owen Burrows ahead of Hukum’s intended appearance in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday.

The full-brother to the brilliant Baaeed bagged a Group One victory of his own in last season’s Coronation Cup at Epsom, but in doing so suffered a career-threatening injury.

He looked better than ever when defeating Derby hero Desert Crown on his return from nearly a year off the track in last month’s Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown – but Burrows insists no chances will be taken if the ground is deemed unsuitable on the fifth and final day of the meeting.

“It’s all been very straightforward since Sandown, so we’re just keeping our fingers crossed it doesn’t get too quick,” said Burrows.

“This was the obvious race for him, our only slight worry is the ground being a bit quick for him, so I think we’ll walk the track at midday on Saturday and make sure we’re happy with it.

“He’s won on a range of grounds, but I know speaking to Sheikha Hissa (owner) after he won at Sandown that Jim (Crowley) had mentioned to her that he’s so much better on good ground and we want to look after him this year – we won’t risk him on fast ground.

“It’s a long year and there are plenty of races for him.”

Even if he is given the go-ahead, Hukum is unlikely to have things all his own way, with several high-class rivals lying in wait.

Free Wind has won her last four races for John and Thady Gosden and saw off Wednesday’s Duke of Cambridge heroine Rogue Millennium in the Middleton Stakes at York, while the James Ferguson-trained Deauville Legend has been off the track since finishing fourth in November’s Melbourne Cup.

Pyledriver must overcome an even longer absence, having been sidelined by injury since his popular success in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes over the course and distance 11 months ago.

William Muir, who trains the six-year-old in partnership with Chris Grassick, said: “Everything has gone good up to now and we’re looking forward to getting him started.

“As I’ve said all the way through, this is hopefully a prep race for the King George. It sounds stupid, but this will put the edge on him, which is what we want.

“I’ve got no doubt his ability is all still there, I’ve got no doubt whatsoever, but he’s been off the course for a long time and we just want to get through this race and move on to the next race.

“It’s a tough place to start, but what else have we got? As long as he goes through the race nice and comes home nice we’re laughing.”

The final afternoon gets under way with the seven-furlong Chesham Stakes Stakes, in which Navan scorer Pearls And Rubies is the likely favourite for Aidan O’Brien.

The Richard Hannon-trained La Guarida appears a major contender for the Amo Racing team, having built on the promise of a debut third at Newmarket with a taking victory at Goodwood on her second start.

“She did nothing wrong at Newmarket and then backed up impressively at Goodwood,” said Amo’s racing manager Tom Pennington.

“The form is looking all right now with the second, third and fourth all winning since.”

The Amo team also have high hopes in the Group Three Jersey Stakes, with Roger Varian’s Olivia Maralda bidding to supplement victory in the Listed Surrey Stakes at Epsom.

Pennington added: “She clocked a very good time at Epsom and I think at one stage she clocked a sub 10-second furlong. I know the ground was quick there and it is the right track to be posting those sort of times, but she has come out of the race really well.

“Roger is adamant she has improved again from Epsom. She hadn’t quite come in her coat then but she has thrived since and the warm weather has helped.

“I would say seven furlongs is her optimum, Kevin (Stott, jockey) is adamant that is the case and she will go there with a big chance.”

Varian also saddles the unbeaten Enfjaar and O’Brien is represented by highly-tried The Antarctic, but the clear favourite is the rapidly-improving Covey.

The son of Frankel completed a hat-trick with a dominant front-running display in the Silver Bowl at Haydock and is strongly fancied to make it a four-timer under Frankie Dettori.

Juddmonte racing manager Barry Mahon said: “He’s a very exciting horse and we look forward to seeing him out again.

“He looks to have plenty of pace for seven furlongs and he gets a mile, so the stiff seven in Ascot should be fine for him.”

Royal Ascot’s Hardwicke Stakes is still the aim for Brigadier Gerard Stakes winner Hukum, who handed Derby winner Desert Crown his first defeat at Sandown earlier this month.

Owen Burrows was happy to report the Shadwell-owned six-year-old returned to his Lambourn yard in fine fettle after his first run for 11 months.

Hukum had three screws inserted in a hind leg after suffering an injury when winning last year’s Coronation Cup at Epsom.

Having made a remarkable recovery, under a fine ride from Jim Crowley, he produced a telling burst to collar Desert Crown and take the Group Three 10-furlong prize by half a length.

“Hukum thankfully trotted up sound the next morning all good and had a little canter on Saturday. That was the most important bit,” said Burrows.

Victory over the trip opens a few more doors for the year-older brother to the brilliant Baaeed. Hukum had won over a mile and three-quarters in the past, although he has predominately raced over a mile and a half.

Burrows added: “He is trip versatile. We are just going to be in the lap of the gods to see what sort of summer we have this year.

“He doesn’t need it soft, but he does need it safe, good ground.

“Jim has always made that point and I’m in agreement. Talking to (Shadwell owner) Sheikha Hissa the following day, she was in agreement as well.

“I’ve not got him in the Prince of Wales’s or an Eclipse, but as you know well with the British summertime, if the forecast is a bit wet, we might just have to have a conversation.”

Should ground conditions be favourable, there is the fascinating prospect of a clash with stablemate Anmaat, who won Monday’s Prix d’Ispahan at ParisLongchamp.

“We have Anmaat in both the Prince Of Wales’s and the Eclipse, so it would be a nice problem to have,” he added.

“We will be watching the weather with Hukum and I always said the Brigadier Gerard would be a prep for the Hardwicke, but if the Hardwicke turned up good to firm, we might have to wait.

“There is the Eclipse at the beginning of July and a race in France in early July over a mile and a half. There is the King George at the end of July, but we will be on a constant weather watch.”

Hukum overcame his own lengthy absence to deny last year’s Derby winner Desert Crown in the Racehorse Lotto Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown.

Trained by Owen Burrows, Hukum is now six and his career looked over after he picked up what looked a career-ending injury in winning the Coronation Cup 12 months ago.

The decision was taken to keep him in training and that now looks inspired, as Jim Crowley – who briefly looked boxed in – got Hukum flying late on to win by half a length in an enthralling battle up the Sandown hill.

Desert Crown had been kept off the track by his own injury – for 355 days to Hukum’s 356 – after his famous Epsom success on what was just his third ever outing.

Following his tried and tested route with his top-class older horses, Sir Michael Stoute was looking for a 12th win in the race and connections were happy going into the Group Three feature.

Settled in fifth by Richard Kingscote as stablemate and pacemaker Solid Stone led at a steady gallop, he was set something of a test but breezed into the lead a furlong out only to be reeled in late on by the 5-1 winner.

While Stoute will no doubt be left scratching his head his former assistant Burrows will be dreaming of a big summer.

Betfair cut Hukum to 14-1 from 25s for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with Desert Crown now the same price from 8s.

Owen Burrows will walk the course at Sandown on Thursday before deciding whether or not to allow Hukum to run in the Racehorse Lotto Brigadier Gerard Stakes.

Hukum is set to face a field that includes Desert Crown, last year’s Derby winner – who is similarly due to make his return from a long absence – in a mouthwatering renewal of the 10-furlong Group Three contest.

However, the Lambourn trainer hinted that if there is not enough moisture in the ground, he could withdraw his six-year-old, who is scheduled to make his comeback after an injury which has sidelined him for 11 months.

Burrows went from the high of winning the Coronation Cup, a first Group One success at Epsom in June, to despair in the space of a few hours, when Hukum was found to be lame after returning home.

A year-older full-brother to the brilliant Baaeed, Hukum picked up a hind leg injury which required three screws to be inserted and it seemed likely he would be retired to stud.

However, he has made a remarkable recovery and Burrows is keen not to take any unnecessary risks with Sheikha Hissa’s Shadwell-owned colt.

“Hopefully he can get back on the track,” said the handler. “He seemed to have improved again from the year before and then he got that injury. It was hugely disappointing, but it doesn’t do to dwell on things.

“It was a pretty straightforward injury. If he was a two- or three-year-old, then he would definitely have come back. There would have been no issue.

“But with him just winning a Group One, my automatic thought was that he would head off to stud.

“But Sheikha Hissa quite sportingly said that if there was a good chance of getting him back, then she’d be happy to give him a chance. Touch wood he’s had plenty of time and we have had a nice preparation with him.”

Though a winner of over £630,000 and successful in nine of his 15 starts, any plans to defend his Coronation Cup title on his first outing of the season were scratched.

Yet Burrows is well aware of the task Hukum faces on his return, which is a stepping stone to a potential run at Royal Ascot.

“We thought it was probably a bit strong to go straight back into a Group One, so this is going to definitely be a prep run.

“He needs to get out now. It is slightly concerning that we are drying up so quick, though.

“I wouldn’t risk him on proper fast ground. Sandown’s clerk of the course, Andrew Cooper, normally does a great job producing safe ground.

“I’ll get there sharp and I said to Richard Hills (Shadwell’s racing manager) this morning that we will have a walk of the track and all being well, if we are happy, then he will take his chance

“It’s pretty obvious the task we face, though. Desert Crown was a pretty impressive Derby and Dante winner last year. There doesn’t appear to be many chinks in his armour.

“He looks a relaxed horse who looks pretty solid, so it is a massive ask, but it is all about getting our fella on the track and getting a run into him.

“The Hardwicke would probably be the next plan, but I wouldn’t be risking him on fast ground through the summer, so the back-end races and an autumn campaign could be on the agenda.”

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