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Hukum strikes Dubai Gold to underline Sheema Classic claims

Hukum booked his ticket for the Sheema Classic later this month as he just edged victory in the Dubai City Of Gold at Meydan.

The opening event of Super Saturday was contested over 12 furlongs and Owen Burrows’ runner was expected to shine having won seven times previously, including four times at Group Three level.

Stepping up to Group Two company here, Jim Crowley rode the five-year-old with plenty of confidence, sitting off the early pace set by Amhran Na Bhfiann before angling out to challenge at the top of the straight.

Hukum took a while to reach top gear and Without A Fight certainly made a battle of it in the final furlong, but Crowley’s mount was just a shade too good at the line.

Crowley said: “We went quick to the bend, as you would expect with such a short run in, but then the pace was quite steady down the back. It just took him a while to hit top gear and he will improve a lot for it.

“He’s a solid horse. He’s never really been tested in Group One company apart from the St Leger and he didn’t get home that day, so he’s a high-class horse and I’m looking forward to riding him (in the Sheema Classic).”

Hukum runs in the Shadwell colours of the late Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum and Crowley admitted it was a special moment to have a winner for the team in Dubai.

He added: “It’s fantastic. Sheikha Hissa has come to watch and I’m so pleased the plan has come together.”

Burrows also paid tribute to Sheikh Hamdan’s impact on his career and expects Hukum to progress plenty ahead of the Sheema Classic on March 26.

He said: “It’s obviously a big thing coming over to Dubai with my first runner and it couldn’t have gone any better.

“Without Sheikh Hamdan I wouldn’t be stood here training, so his trust and faith in me, I will be forever in his debt for that. To set me up with this opportunity was massive and many thanks to his family now for sticking by me with the yard and everything.

“Whatever Hukum did today, he was going to come on plenty for. Jim said he didn’t have that hard a race, he wasn’t blowing too much there but he’s got three weeks now to enjoy this warmth and I’m sure he will come on plenty.”

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