Royal Ascot 2020 just gets better and better for jockey Jim Crowley, who rode his fourth winner of the week when delivering Hukum (12/1) with a perfectly timed challenge to take the mile and a half King George V Handicap by half a length from 9/2 joint-favourite Kipps.
It was also a fourth win of the week for owner Hamdan Al Maktoum while it was a first ever Royal Ascot success for trainer Owen Burrows.
Owen Burrows said: “Hukum has always been a horse we have liked. He does enough at home without blowing you away. He was due to run at Newmarket a couple of weeks ago, but I wasn’t quite happy with him. I just thought we will forget it and I took him to Kempton last week and he worked as well as he had last year.
“He had options this week, but off 90 I thought we would come here. It is a big step up for a horse who has only had a couple of runs, but he travelled nicely and stuck to it well.
“Jim said he was slightly lugging left, but he can do that a bit. We will get him back and see where we go after.
“I don’t think Hukum overdoes himself, he only just does enough and when Kipps came to him, he just kept at it.
“Hukum has got the profile and the breeding to be better than that. I am sure he will get further, he travelled well there. We will get him back, speak to Sheikh Hamdan and see what he thinks – it is great to have one like him.
“I am sure we’ll have a think about it [the Derby], and we’ll go back and have a chat with Sheikh Hamdan, but as Jim said there, he is still very inexperienced. He just said he was lugging left a bit the majority of the way around so whether or not he will handle Epsom, we will see.
“We will see how he is, he was just a little stuck into there on his right hind. It looks superficial, just as if it is the skin, but once we get it back and cleaned up, we will be able to see it a lot more then.
“As a kid and when I was battling around Fontwell and Plumpton 20 years ago, I would never have dreamed I would be here training a Royal Ascot winner for someone like Sheikh Hamdan. All thanks to him for having the trust in me to do the job. I was very fortunate to have had a great grounding at Sir Michael Stoute’s where I was around good horses and you can pick up plenty – I have just been very fortunate.”
Jim Crowley commented: “Hukum has a lovely pedigree, and he is bred to stay. He won his maiden at Kempton last year from a very unpromising position – he was a long way back and he flew home, never looked like winning – so he showed that day he had plenty of ability. We threw him in at the deep end today, but he did it nicely. He got a lovely sit round, box seat, and when the gap came he took it nicely, probably idling enough in front.
“Here you have to let them rock on down the hill to get a position. We needed to get a breather into him at some point and I was quite glad that they did. We were lucky to get the splits when we did and he quickened up well.
“Owen has done a great job. The horse had been away to Lambourn and galloped there, but he also took him to Kempton for an away-day there, and really on the back of that he’d almost had a run – it worked out great.
“He’s a fine, big horse with plenty of scope about him and he stays very well. I’m sure as the season goes on he will keep progressing as well.
“I will have to speak to everybody about it [the Derby], he is certainly a horse that stays well, but it is whether he has enough experience to go around Epsom? He lugged a bit to the left there and whether he’d handle the cambers of the track is another question.”
Asked about his four winners so far at the meeting, he said: “Touch wood – hope it keeps going! I have got some ammunition, which always helps. We had a good team coming here, so I would have been disappointed if we didn’t have a winner. I have got some nice rides coming up – a few more bullets to fire.”
Trainer Hughie Morrison said of the runner-up Kipps: “I think he is a Group horse beaten by another Group horse.
“When he gets to the front, he just seems to stop a little, but he has run really well.”
Following this race, the going at Ascot is now GOOD all over (previously Good on the Straight Course; Good, Good to Soft in places on the Round Course).
2.25pm King George V Stakes (Handicap)
- Hukum [drawn 4] Owen Burrows 3-8-11 Jim Crowley 12/1
- Kipps  Hughie Morrison 3-8-04 David Probert 9/2 Fav
- Subjectivist  Mark Johnston 3-9-01 Ryan Moore 22/1
- Group One Power Andrew Balding 3-8-01 Silvestre De Sousa 28/1
1st Royal Ascot win for trainer Owen Burrows
10th Royal Ascot win for jockey Jim Crowley
Non-Runner: 11 Glenties (Going)
9/2 Jt Fav Bright Melody (11th)
Time: 2m 32.97s
Distances: ½, ¾, nk