Almushahar Draws Raves After Uncorking Champagne

Two-year-old colt Almushahar earned a comparison with the late great Dubai Millennium as he overcame trouble to post a sparkling victory at Doncaster on Friday and became the favorite for next year's Sagitta 2,000 Guineas.

The 8-11 favorite to win Friday's Group II though making only his second career start, he lived up to expectations when quickening to a 1-1/4 victory in the $175,000 Rothmans Royals Champagne Stakes.

Trainer David Loder secured his third win in a row in the race. Loder had no hesitation in comparing the son of 1,000 Guineas heroine Sayyedati to the most celebrated graduate of his two-year-old academy.

"I think he looks as good as Dubai Millennium did at this stage of his career," he told The Racing Post. "He has always been very special at home – you look forward to work mornings when he is due out."

Jockey Frankie Dettori was prepared to go out in front on Almushahar but instead he sat midfield on the colt and after edging through a tight gap, he skipped clear of St Pancras from the furlong pole.

"It was a bit tight at one time, the sort of moment when your palms start getting a bit sweaty, but you have to be pleased when you see him win the Champagne Stakes with his ears pricked and without having had a slap," said Loder.

"I think that next year he should certainly stay a mile and a quarter. Physically he is quite immature. He's not a natural two-year-old but he has a lot of ability. I have the feeling he might be even better on easier ground."

Dettori said: "I knew I could beat them all, I just needed an opening. He is as good as Dubai Destination last year. He's a wonderful horse and it will take a real good one to beat him right now. He's got the scope to be a beautiful three-year-old."

Provided owner Hamdan Al-Maktoum gives his consent, Almushahar will be supplemented for the Darley Dewhurst Stakes, a race Dubai Destination, currently back in Dubai, was due to contest until meeting with a setback.

Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said: "Ever since he has first started working he's looked pretty special. We were very hopeful for his first run and he got that well enough but the change and improvement since that run has been really quite remarkable. He's been very professional, really classy.

"Frankie was keen to jump out and set a really strong gallop to test everybody but the way the race worked out he found himself behind a wall of horses, but for such an inexperienced colt to go through that gap is a good sign. He's got the right temperament and he looks like a really class act.

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