DahlBury Coronation Cup (Group 1)

THE ground at Epsom had dried to good by Friday, although clerk of the course Andrew Cooper felt that there were good to soft places on the inside rail in the straight, and jockeys avoided the inside after the opening race.

The Group 1 Coronation Cup saw the jockeys favouring a wide route, although not coming all the way over to the stands rail, as can be the case on testing ground.

Hukum (Owen Burrows/Jim Crowley), a full-brother to wonder horse Baaeed, showed himself a top-notch performer in his own right with an impressive four and a half-length defeat of 2021 winner Pyledriver (William Muir & Chris Grassick/Frankie Dettori), with High Definition (Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore) half a length further back in third place. The winner returned 11/4 at the track.

Hukum bounced out alertly but was allowed to drift back to fourth behind Manobo, who set just a moderate pace. The latter was accompanied by Pyledriver, with High Definition and Hukum racing in tandem just behind.

The pace didn’t begin to lift until Frankie took Pyledriver to the front after half a mile, immediately followed by Hukum, with Jim Crowley clearly intent on avoiding a repeat of the previous year’s result when he was outgunned by Pyledriver on Al Aasy.

Hukum hit the front entering the home straight, and although Pyledriver rallied to re-join issue, the winner was very strong in the last couple of furlongs and pulled clear in the style of an improved performer, albeit in receipt of an astute ride in the circumstances.

High Definition looked like he might grab second a furlong out, but he didn’t see things out as well as looked likely, while Manobo was suited neither by the track, nor by the slow pace he set, and his moderate fourth is best excused in the wider scheme of things.

Burrows said: “He won his Group 2 in Dubai and then ran a career-best in the Sheema Classic. He was drawn wide that day, they didn’t go quick, and he was only beaten a little over a length and a half, so I was relatively pleased.

“I always thought he might win a Group 1, he looked progressive there, so we’ll have to see where we go next. The King George is the obvious one, but we’ll have to see what the ground is like. He’s not in the Arc but it was a conversation, we did debate it. It will have to be an option and he’s in that division now.”