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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Dettori pays tribute following death of top miler Aljabr at 22

Aljabr and Frankie Dettori in full flight on their way to a record-breaking win in the 1999 Champagne Lanson Sussex Stakes at Goodwood
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Frankie Dettori paid tribute on Thursday to leading Godolphin miler Aljabr, who has died in Kentucky aged 22.

Dettori, whose three Group 1 wins on the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained son of Storm Cat included the Sussex Stakes and Lockinge, said on Thursday: "Aljabr was a very good miler and he would have been an even better one but for the injuries which restricted his appearances.

"He loved to lead and he was especially good the day he broke the track record in the Sussex Stakes. He did well to come back at four and win the Lockinge after another injury."

It was Aljabr's misfortune that he was a contemporary of Godolphin great Dubai Millennium and injuries restricted him to just three runs a season. However, he was a Group 1 winner at two, three and four before his retirement.

He went unbeaten through his juvenile campaign, when he was crowned Cartier Champion Two-Year-old after landing Goodwood's Vintage Stakes and the Prix de la Salamandre, and he would have been a leading fancy for the following season's 2,000 Guineas if Sheikh Mohammed had not been so keen to win the Kentucky Derby.

Godolphin still won the Guineas with Island Sands, but Aljabr's Kentucky expedition foundered when he was withdrawn on the eve of the race after being found to be lame behind.

Following his return to Newmarket Aljabr was beaten only by a top-class miler when second to Sendawar in the St James's Palace Stakes and the following month he set a new track record of 1min 35.66sec when making all to beat Docksider in the Sussex Stakes.

Aljabr suffered a knee injury while making a race of it with old rival Sendawar in the Prix du Moulin, dashing hopes of a return to the States for the Breeders' Cup, but after wintering in Dubai he returned at four to beat Trans Island in the Lockinge, once again making all.

That was the last time Dettori rode Aljabr, as the jockey was involved in a fatal plane crash at Newmarket shortly after the Lockinge, and on Aljabr's only subsequent starts he was beaten in the Queen Anne and when bidding for a repeat win in the Sussex.

Aljabr retired to stud at his birthplace, Shadwell Farm in Kentucky, in 2001 before being relocated to Ascot Stud in Ontario in 2008. From 11 crops he sired 202 foals and 91 winners, among the best of them 2008 Canadian Classic-winning filly Northern Kraze.

His most successful European-trained runner was Munaddam, who was a member of his first crop and won a Listed event at Haydock and three races at Nad Al Sheba.

Aljabr returned to Shadwell to spend his retirement in 2013 and will be buried there.

Aljabr's form and stud record

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Aljabr loved to lead and he was especially good the day he broke the track record in the Sussex Stakes
E.W. Terms
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