June 2023



SHAQUILLE (GB) produced a spectacular performance under a confident ride by Oisin Murphy in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup on Friday afternoon, despite rearing in the gates and giving his rivals a head start of several lengths.

Murphy and his charge, who is trained in North Yorkshire by Julie Camacho, crept into the six furlong contest unperturbed, eventually producing a fierce turn of foot one furlong from home and duly relegating odds-on favourite LITTLE BIG BEAR to the runners up spot. At the line, the winning distance was a cosy one-and-a-quarter lengths.

For the jubilant Camacho, the win represented a first both at Royal Ascot and at Group 1 level. Speaking with Ascot Racecourse after the race, Camacho said:

“It’s massive. We never thought we would train a Group One winner, not at Royal Ascot anyway, and for Martin [Hughes, owner] it’s massive. He bred him. We’ve got his mother at home, his siblings, and dad looks after the stud, so I’m sure he was screaming at home.”

As Camacho pointed out, the result was also a notable one for Martin Hughes, who co-owns the horse with Peter Rawlings and Michael O’Shaughnessy. Hughes, in partnership with Michael Kerr-Dineen, with whom he owns several other horses, bred Shaquille out of unraced broodmare Magic, who is based at Ian and Kath Hutchinson’s Battlefield Stud, just down the road from Camacho's yard.

Winning connections receiving the trophy from The Prince and Princess of Wales. Photo credit: GBRI

Speaking with Racing Post Bloodstock after the race, Hughes reflected: "He’s the third foal, and the first one that’s been any good. He blew the start so it’s an amazing surprise."

Kerr-Dineen, who joined Hughes and other connections in the Ascot winner's enclosure, told Racing Post Bloodstock:

"I kind of brought Martin into racing a few years ago with Hughie Morrison and Richard Hannon, and he’s branched off a bit doing his own breeding. I’m so pleased for all of them."

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