22 May 2024

Kikkuli out to master Heron rivals in fascinating Sandown contest

22 May 2024

Frankel’s half-brother Kikkuli looks to take the next step in his career in the Chasemore Farm Stud Staff Heron Stakes at Sandown on Thursday evening.

The Juddmonte-owned colt carries with him the weight of an exceptional pedigree as he is by Kingman and the last foal out of Kind, the dam who produced the great Frankel alongside Noble Mission, Bullet Train and Joyeuse.

He made his racecourse debut in a Newmarket novice in November and was beaten two and a half lengths by Ralph Beckett’s Zoum Zoum, who went on to win a Listed race in France and finish second in the Greenham.

Behind them in third was Eve Johnson Houghton’s Balmacara, who reopposes after winning two novice events at Doncaster since, and in fourth was a particularly notable name in the William Haggas-trained Economics – wide-margin winner of the Dante at York and a possible Derby contender.

Kikkuli returned to action this year in another seven-furlong novice at Headquarters, this time prevailing by a neck with three subsequent winners behind him.

He now makes the step up the Listed class for trainer Harry Charlton and will be partnered by Ryan Moore, as he was in his previous start.

“We’re looking forward to him, his maiden win has obviously worked out very well as I think there have been numerous winners come out behind him,” said Juddmonte’s Barry Mahon.

“It’s a jump up in class on Thursday, but we’re happy with the horse and Harry is happy, so let’s see how we get on.

“Hopefully it will be a nice stepping-stone to something better later in the year.

“He obviously has a lot of pressure on him, but he’s a lovely horse and I think whatever he does on Thursday he’ll be a nice horse later in the year and we’ll have plenty of fun with him.”

Kikkuli takes his name from the Bronze Age author of a text on how to care for horses, a relic preserved on a clay tablet that earned him a reputation as a ‘master horse trainer’ – meaning the name could therefore be a nod to Bobby Frankel, in homage to whom Frankel was named, or the late Sir Henry Cecil.

Elsewhere in what looks to be a red-hot renewal is Karl Burke’s Ice Max, the winner of both starts as a three-year-old having taken two mile handicaps by wide margins in the spring.

Haggas has an interesting contender in bet365 Classic Trial third Remaadd, who steps down from that 10-furlong trip as one of two runners for owner Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum in the race, the other being Ed Walker’s Almaqam.

Remaadd finished third to the sidelined Arabian Crown over 10 furlongs at Sandown, but drops down to a mile on the advice of jockey Tom Marquand.

“It was Tom’s decision to run him over a mile, I personally think he wants a mile and a quarter minimum,” said Haggas.

“Tom was quite keen to bring him back to a mile as he was last off the bridle.

“The Hampton Court is the race I’ve got in my mind for him so it will be interesting if he is better over a mile.”

In a field of seven, Richard Hannon is represented by Son, who was fourth of 11 in the Greenham, with Jane Chapple-Hyam running Craven Stakes third Sons And Lovers.

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