AIKEN’S first two wins were at around 10 furlongs, a Chester maiden and a handicap at Sandown, but then he stepped up to a mile and a half, a move that led to his rating rising with every run for the next year.
He completed a hat-trick when, on what was his final start that season, he won an Ascot handicap by almost two lengths, and when the John Gosden-trainee was next seen in action, nine months later, it was to extend his sequence to four with victory at Epsom Downs.
His next start established him as having pattern potential because he ran away with the Listed Buckhounds Stakes over the mile and a half at Ascot, beating his rivals by 10 lengths and more.
Gosden wasted no time putting Aiken into top company after that and the colt went to France three weeks later for the Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly.
This was a much more challenging task, as you’d expect for the grade, but he handled it with aplomb, making the most of the running while beating Maxios by three-quarters of a length, the latter two and a half lengths clear of Dunaden and followed across the line by Dance Moves and Allied Powers.
He made his bid for seven wins in a row when tackling the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot three weeks later and, although ultimately unsuccessful in his attempt, finished fourth as Sea Moon stayed on to beat Dunaden and Red Cadeaux.
He was fourth on his next start and was only just beaten by half a length. It was the Group 1 Irish St Leger at the Curragh, which Royal Diamond won by a head and short head from Massiyn and Brown Panther, with Aiken a neck further back while clear of both Simeon and Fame And Glory.
There was also just a neck between him and a higher placing in the Group 3 British Champions Long Distance Cup over two miles at Ascot on his final start of the year, although this time it was the runner-up prize he landed, headed near the line by Rite Of Passage.
Aiken is a son of the star miler and classic sire Selkirk (Sharpen Up), and so is by the sire of Sublimity, a dual flat stakes winner who landed the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2007 and the Grade 1 Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown the following year.
Two of Aiken’s first four runners have been placed – Fathers Advice in an Ayr bumper and Aikenbreakinheart beaten less than five lengths when third in a Listowel maiden hurdle.
His Group 3-winning full-sister Felicity is the dam of the similarly talented Gatewood (Galileo), while Aiken’s seven-furlong Group 2-winning half-brother Sleeping Indian (by Indian Ridge) has sired a string of prolific winners on the flat.
Aiken’s Group 1 Oaks d’Italia-placed dam, Las Flores (Sadler’s Wells), is a half-sister to the multiple Group 1-placed Group 2 winner and successful National Hunt stallion Bach (Caerleon).
AIKEN (GB), Bay 2008. Won six races, £165,057, from 1 mile 2 furlongs to 1½ miles, at 3 and 4 years including, Grand Prix de Chantilly, Chantilly, Gr.2, John Doyle Buckhounds Stakes, Ascot, L, also placed second in Qipco
Long Distance Cup, Ascot, Gr.3.
Retired to Stud in 2014.
Stands at: Anngrove Stud, Mountmellick, Co Laois, R32 HR96, Ireland
Contact: Alastair Pim
Telephone: 057 8624122 or 087 2902188
Fee: on application