07/05/2014 11:50AM

Mukhadram earns first career Group 1 win with Eclipse Stakes

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After two good losses to start his 2014 campaign, Mukhadram broke through with a big win Saturday at Sandown in the Eclipse Stakes, winning the first Group 1 race of his career by two lengths over Trading Leather.

It was another three-quarters of a length back to the third-place Somewhat, a huge longshot assumed to be a rabbit in the Eclipse, as the top three slots all went to horses forwardly placed in the 1 1/4-mile race.

The 3-year-old Kingston Hill finished fourth, the best of the closers, while the favored The Fugue could not repeat her sparkling triumph last month in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, checking in sixth after racing last much of the trip and finding a spot of trouble when attempting to launch her rally at the head of the long homestretch. Also disappointing was the former Todd Pletcher charge Verrazano, who finished last after a pair of encouraging races to start his season.

Mukhadram, though, was a deserving winner and appears to have a fondness for the Sandown course, over which he won the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard and finished third in the 2013 Eclipse in his two previous runs.

Owned by Hamdan al Maktoum, trained by William Haggas, and ridden to victory by Paul Hanagan, Mukhadram had finished second in the Dubai World Cup and fourth in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes leading into Saturday’s triumph. A horse with pace, he sat second behind Somewhat for most of the trip, making the lead about a quarter-mile out and never really feeling a threat thereafter. His time over a good-to-firm course was 2:04.07.

A 5-year-old by Shamardal and Magic Tree, Mukhadram won for the fifth time in 12 starts.