Shadwell’s extremely exciting Mohaafeth has earned his way onto the big stage, courtesy of a trio of one-sided victories to commence his sophomore campaign. Trained by William Haggas, the son of Frankel has now landed three from five, including a dismantling of Meydan Trophy winner Secret Protector last out in the Listed Newmarket Stakes.
Garnering a 111 rating, Mohaafeth heads into the classic Cazoo Derby (G1) at Epsom this Saturday as a serious player in what looks a salty renewal. He will be reunited with jockey Jim Crowley, who has been aboard for his past two victories.
“Everybody has been very happy with him leading up to the race,” said Angus Gold, Shadwell’s longtime racing manager. “Jim Crowley came and rode him in a gallop on the Rowley Mile (last Wednesday) and was very happy with the feel the horse gave him; although the ground was still soft, which is not his favoured surface, he strode up to two high-class lead horses very well and Jim said he gave him a good feel. The horse seemed to pull up well from it, so William will just be looking to keep him fit and happy for the next week.
“It would be wrong to say anybody is going into the race with confidence, as this is a Derby and in my experience it is better to be hopeful rather than overconfident, particularly as very few of these horses have run over a mile and a half already and Bolshoi Ballet looked very impressive in the Derrinstown Derby Trial,” Gold continued. “However, we are all very excited to have a horse in the top four or five in the betting market for the Cazoo Derby, and we just have to hope he gets there in top shape on the big day.”
Mohaafeth was purchased for $449,056 at Tattersalls October Yearling Sale 2019 and is a son of the famous Frankel, out of Listed-winning Sea The Stars mare French Dressing, herself out of the diminutive and determined multiple stakes-winning Halling mare Foodbroker Fancy. His lone sibling to race, 4-year-old New Approach filly French Polish, broke her maiden at Kempton last fall at fourth asking for owner-breeder Normandie Stud and trainer Roger Charlton. He also has a 2-year-old half-brother by Dark Angel named French Toast and a yearling half-sister by Kingman named French Mistress.
“He was obviously by the great Frankel, from a strong running female family and interestingly inbred 3×3 to Urban Sea, who won an Arc de Triomphe, herself, before proving herself one of the great broodmares of recent years, being the dam of both Galileo and Sea The Stars, two of the greatest horses of the 21st Century,” Gold continued. “On top of that, he was a handy size for a Frankel, neither too big nor too small, and he had a very good, active walk to him. He appeared to be a very sensible horse every time I saw him. Interestingly, Sheikh Hamdan was worried that his pedigree might be too slow the first time he went to see him, but luckily he asked to see him again the next day and both William Haggas and John Gosden told him they liked the horse very much, and Sheikh Hamdan decided to buy him at that stage.”
The flashy chestnut began his career with a little less shine than expected, finishing seventh behind Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmook Al Maktoum’s blue-blooded Latest Generation (Frankel-Rizeena) over one mile at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting. Showing a little more interest in his second try, three weeks later at Salisbury, he was third by 1 1/2 lengths over the same distance as the favourite. A solid winter off to mentally mature and physically develop, and the good-looking colt whose name roughly translates to “governor” has ruled his way into contention in the world’s most prestigious 3-year-old race.
A victory in the affair would be all the more meaningful for connections, who mourn the recent loss of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, head of the global Shadwell empire that still sets the standard for top-class racing and breeding operations. The Shadwell blue and white have gone to the winner’s enclosure in the renowned classic twice prior: 1989 with the great Nashwan and 1994 with the brilliant Erhaab.
“For obvious reasons, it would be a very emotional day if Mohaafeth was able to win the Derby so soon after HH Sheikh Hamdan sadly died,” Gold said. “As everybody knows, Sheikh Hamdan put an enormous amount of money, time and thought into his racing and breeding empires and was passionate about all aspects of the Thoroughbred business for well over 40 years. He and his brothers, together with other family members, have been amongst the greatest benefactors the Thoroughbred world has ever seen and it would be especially poignant to win another Derby for him and his family 27 years after Erhaab won him a second Epsom Derby.”
Fresh off a 2020 season that brought home a seventh owner’s championship in Britain, Shadwell is in the enviable position of having multiple top-class runners currently competing or on the verge of doing so throughout the nation at the G1 level. This includes a reasonable chance of sweeping both the English Derby and Oaks, as well as having a major player in the prestigious Coronation Cup (G1) at the same Epsom meeting. After that, all eyes will be on Royal Ascot in the UK and then Saratoga in the USA in July, as star filly Malathaat returns.
“The whole team at Shadwell are much looking forward to the Epsom meeting, as we will also be represented in the Oaks by (Roger Varian-trained Listed winner) Zeyaadah and have a very good chance in the Coronation Cup with Al Aasy, also trained by William Haggas,” Gold remarked. “It has been a very long time since we were represented in all three of the big races there and it would be wonderful to reward Sheikh Hamdan’s family with a victory in one of them in their first season in charge.”
Gold was kind enough to give is additional updates on the other stars of the Shadwell colours, commencing with the swiftest (and most popular) of them all:
“We are all looking forward to getting Battaash back to the track, hopefully at Royal Ascot to try and win the (Group 1) King’s Stand for a second year running. As has been documented, he had a bit of a setback at the end of last year, but he has been back in work for four weeks now and Charles Hills is very happy with the horse, so hopefully we can get him back to the track in one piece.
“We are also looking forward to running Mostahdaf in the (Group 1) St. James’s Palace Stakes on the opening day of Royal Ascot. He appears to be on an upward curve and won his Listed race nicely at Sandown recently on ground that didn’t suit him and hopefully he will be up to the big jump up in class.
“There are plenty of other nice horses to look forward to this summer, including the likes of Mehnah, who sadly had a minor hold up and couldn’t run in the Irish 1000 Guineas last weekend, but she looks a high-class filly and is the third high-class Frankel 3-year-old that we have in training this year.
“We have an improving horse called Alfaadhel, who won again earlier this week and hopefully will make up into a stakes-class horse in due course, together with Aldaary and Laneqash, who was a good 2-year-old last year, but missed the early spring with a hold up. We are hoping to get him back to Ascot as well.”
In the end, it looks like Mohaafeth, which is also an adjective for “consistent and sustaining” in Arabic, is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg in an operation that is doing just that–staying consistent and sustaining excellence at the utmost level, with horses and horsemen, worldwide, dedicated to its success.