Maraahel Holds off Scorpion in Hardwicke Stakes

Maraahel won the Hardwicke Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot for two consecutive years by holding off favored Scorpion by a half-length Saturday.

The victory marked the first win at the Royal Ascot meeting for trainer Sir Michael Stoute this year.

Maraahel and Scorpion raced just off a steady pace set by Akarem as that horse led through much of the 12 furlongs.  As Akarem weakened with two furlongs left, Maraahel, under a strong ride by Richard Hills, took over the lead.

Scorpion and Mick Kinane were right on his heels, but try as they might, they could not get by the winner.  Mighty finished third, 2 1/2 lengths further back.

Time for the 12 furlongs over good to soft turf was 2:35.47.

When asked about a plan for his Hardwicke winner, Stoute replied, “There is the King George back here next month, but (owner) Sheikh Hamdan has asked me to leave him in the Eclipse as well.  It will be one or the other and we’ll have to see how he comes out of today.  I’d love to win a group I with him.”

Maraahel is a 6-year-old bay horse by Alzao out of Nasanice, by Nashwan.  He was bred in Ireland by Shadwell.

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