Back in 2021 following the death of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, horse racing fans wondered what the future would hold for the Shadwell Stud group and later that year in September they announced that they would be dispersing a significant amount of their stock, in order to focus their activities at key and strategic points.
Although Shadwell continued thanks to Shiekh Hamdan’s daughter, Sheikha Hissa, as she understood the group was pivotal to the future of British racing, many commentators simply erred on the side of fewer horses means a lower chance of success, according to this horse race betting portal Horse.bet.
The reality of the situation in the last few years could not have been more polar opposite to what has become reality and on the third day of the Glorious Goodwood event, Shadwell saw 9-2 shot Al Husn, and jockey Jim Crowley, become their latest winner in the Nassau Stakes. Having returned from injury and seen off the challenge of 2022 Derby hero Desert Crown in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown in May, Al Husn’s success came a mere five days after 13-2 shot Hukum edged out Westover in the renewal of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes. Owen Burrows trained Hukum made the move late on and in a pulsating battle, won by a head.
Despite the earlier predictions, Shadwell’s performance in UK Group 1 now stands at 11 wins from 21 – a percentage of 52% – and is a phenomenal return given all the upheaval.
Al Husn takes the plaudits for now, but Hukum’s performance given the injury situation should not be ignored.
Burrows said at the time.
I’m just speechless. He’s an absolute star, isn’t he. It is a big team effort – I have a great team behind me. My head lad rides him every day, John Lake. To be honest, we felt he has never been better, this season for whatever reason, he’s shown a lot more speed. But what a tough horse – and he had to be, because the second didn’t lay down, did he? He made us fight all the way. What a race. It lived up to its spectacle. I’m a bit hoarse from shouting.”
Clearly it was a team and group effort, as he went on to add.
What can you say about him – he’s an absolute star. I can’t put into words what it means. I’m in my second season as a public trainer and we have a great team. The guys back at Shadwell rehabbed him after his injury at Epsom – huge credit to them. It was the type of injury that wouldn’t retire a horse, but he’d just won a Group One and he was five, so you think – hats off to Sheikha Hissa for giving him a chance. This horse has been a huge part of my career. He is my first Royal Ascot winner, first Group One winner and he won in Dubai when we first went out after the sad passing of Sheikh Hamdan, so to come back and so what he’s done is just amazing.”
With the likes of Baaeed, Hukum and now Al Husn creating headlines, the fact horses like Alflaila are not yet on the list, given the potential, the future could be even brighter.