Hukum after his victory in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth (G1) July 29 at Ascot (JTW Equine Images)
By Michaela Moricova
Some time ago, I brought to light a story of two super staying brothers, Subjectivist and Sir Ron Priestly, and even though I planned to devote this article to a completely different family, I adjusted my intention as the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe approaches. Six-year-old Hukum belongs among the favorites, yet his star didn’t shine so brightly in the past.
Indeed, he’s always been a talented horse; however, it seems people started to take him seriously only after his full-brother became a true champion. Hukum’s full brother is Baaeed, a bay who suffered just one loss in eleven outings spanning through 2021 and 2022.
This is the story of how Hukum was the first to the scene and is also the last one to leave it, maybe with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe accolade.
A Globetrotting Mare of Shadwell
All the horses discussed here are tied with the Shadwell Stud, whose mare, Aghareed, commenced her journey in the USA. She was born in 2009 but never raced in her homeland, as she was shipped to France to start her racing career in 2012. Trained by E J Hammond, the daughter of Kingmambo recorded only five outings; still, it was enough to display a certain class on the track. Most notably, Aghareed scored a Listed for three-year-old fillies over a mile and a quarter.
At the end of 2012, she retired and gave several foals either in the UK or Ireland. Some of them remained unraced, but the quintet that hit the track proved to be of respectable quality. Kasbaan is eight years old and still a reliable horse in Class 2 handicaps, while three-year-old Naqueeb scored at the same level in September. The son of Nathaniel still can have a bright future like his two half-brothers, which we’ll look at in the next part.
Hukum at Burrows
Born in 2017, Hukum showed some potential as a two-year-old when winning at a mile, while as a three-year-old, he continued the winning streak by adding a couple of victories. He even triumphed at the G3 level in August 2020 and finished fifth in the St Leger. Still, his feeble health allowed him to fully complete only the season of 2021, when he recorded seven starts, three out of them victorious.
By that point, Hukum made a name for himself as a smart performer, which he confirmed by winning two other G3 races and a Listed one; moreover, he took third place in a G2 race. However, he was already overshadowed by his brother Baaeed, who has been winning group races left and right. Trainer Owen Barrow didn’t rush with his trainee, though, and waited for Hukum’s first success at the G2 stage until 2022.
Back then, he sent Hukum to Dubai to the G2 Dubai City of Gold, and even though the bay then failed to repeat the effort among the elite, he made amends in June by defeating Pyledriver in the G1 Coronation Cup. Upon achieving his premiere G1 victory, Hukum couldn’t run until May 2023. However, the son of Sea the Starts didn’t disappoint by winning a G3 race, and then he cemented his position as a G1 star by scoring the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes over a mile and a half.
William Haggas sent his talented colt out in 2021 when the son of Sea the Stars was three years old. In a span of five starts, Baaeed climbed up from maidens to a comfortable victory in the G1 Prix du Moulin against older rivals. The outstanding bay displayed an exceptional turn of foot, a brave heart, and, most importantly, a huge amount of class that he showed off in his next start when bagging the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Back then, he defeated a hot favorite, Palace Pier, by a neck.
The unbeaten colt commenced the season of 2022 with an easy victory in the G1 Lockinge Stakes over a mile. Baaeed ran over the same distance during summer as he scored two other G1s, including the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. In August, he tried the mile and a quarter for the first time, resulting in a six-and-a-half length triumph in the G1 Juddmonte International. Back then, Baaeed earned his best mark ever and also recorded his last win.
In October, Baaeed bumped into talented horses and a ground described as good to soft, but at first sight, it was a bit deeper than that. Baaeed wasn’t impressed by the conditions, so when his usual jockey, Jim Crowley, asked him to pick up, his mount wasn’t really going. Thanks to his brave heart, Baaeed fought until the final stride, couldn’t get past fourth place, though. Still, his performance wasn’t entirely bad as he finished only one and ¾ lengths behind victorious Bay Bridge.
The Future is Hukum’s
While Baaeed is enjoying his first year at the stud in the UK, a year older Hukum awaits possibly the most important start of his career. On October 1st, Jim Crowley will be up to deliver the best result in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Longchamp. The distance of a mile and a half suits Hukum, and to be honest, William Haggas could be calmer than some of his British or Irish colleagues in terms of ground.
As you know, the richest European race is usually run over soft or heavy ground; however, Hukum has already triumphed over very soft ground in the past, so the going shouldn’t stop him. He’s a classy horse with a big heart, and therefore, I think he is primed to finally get rid of Baaeed’s shadow hanging over him, proving he is a champion, too.
Currently, Hukum is the second chance for the race behind a French Derby-winner, Ace Impact.