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Almaqam makes light work of Heron rivals

3 minute read

Ed Walker looks to have a nice prospect on his hands after Almaqam powered clear of his rivals to take out the Listed Chasemore Farm Stud Staff Heron Stakes at Sandown.

Trainer : ED WALKER
Trainer : ED WALKER Picture: PA

Although everything looked straightforward on the track for Almaqam, Ed Walker's colt did show signs of inexperience in the preliminaries when getting free in the parade ring.

The son of Lope De Vega showed promise on debut when fourth at Newmarket last season and confirmed that initial ability by running out a commanding winner of a Yarmouth maiden last month. Almaqam was sent off a 7/1 chance to take the step up to Listed company in his stride and never really looked in a moment's bother under William Buick.

Buick set out to track the front-running Son for much of the mile contest but as the leader blew the turn, the champion jockey quickly seized the initiative and picked up proceedings with five furlongs to travel.

Those in behind looked to throw down a challenge as the field entered the final furlong but Almaqam quickly proved he had all the answers, drawing clear for an impressive three- and three-quarter length success from Frankel's half-brother Kikkuli.

The Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained Sons And Lovers kept on well to finish third.

The impressive winner was cut to 33/1 (from 100s) for the St James's Palace Stakes by Paddy Power, but punters clearly thought that was too big, and the same firm reacted by cutting him further to 20/1.

Although Royal Ascot looks on the cards for the talented Lope De Vega colt, Ed Walker suggested he wouldn't be averse to going over ten furlongs. "I'm very happy, I was really impressed with how he hit the line so strongly in that ground. We were worried about the ground, I think everyone was worried about the ground, but he did it really well," said the winning trainer.

"I think 10 furlongs won't be an issue, so we'll see. That was a huge step forward, that was a strong race. I know plenty of horses may not have acted on the ground, sometimes those races can be a question of who acts best on the ground, and you can be made to look better than you are, but he's done nothing wrong in his career.

"He's very straightforward, he's a beautiful horse. I'm very grateful to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed (Al Maktoum) for sending him to me.

"It'll be the St James's Palace or the Hampton Court – I'm not sure yet."

Racing and Sports

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