Two days into the York Ebor meeting and William Haggas already has four winners on the board; and this from just five runners.
Many anticipated a strong showing from the Newmarket trainer, and Haggas has certainly delivered. Storm The Stars landed a deserved top-flight success on Wednesday with a gutsy win in the Great Voltigeur Stakes. Wonderfully consistent all summer at the highest level, he held off a sustained challenge from Bondi Beach, and now heads the market for the St Leger in September.
But it’s the Haggas juveniles that are causing the greatest stir. The Queen’s colt Recorder was a convincing winner of the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes on the opening day. He looks a straight forward sort, who puts his head down and gives his all. An attractive pedigree, he is by Galileo out of the mare Memory, who was herself a terrific juvenile for Richard Hannon. He has lofty targets for later in the season including the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.
Yesterday two further juveniles struck gold with Besharah proving the highlight when storming home to take the Group 2 Lowther Stakes. Behind Acapulco over an inadequate five furlongs at Royal Ascot, she has looked sensational since stepping up to six. Showing great acceleration to burst clear in the closing stages she looks a class act.
The trainer was clearly delighted with the filly, saying: “I thought it was looking a bit messy at one stage but she picked up really well and won well. She is obviously a good filly. She will go for the Cheveley Park now.”
Tasleet was the other winning two-year-old for Haggas and his team. Owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, the colt won the valuable DBS Premier Yearling Stakes, holding off the fast finishing Ferryover, trained by Kevin Ryan. The winner had previously chased home John Gosden’s outstanding juvenile; the Al Shaqab owned Shalaa. That form looked strong before the race and punters were rewarded for ‘lumping on’.
The trainer will hope that he can maintain his stunning run of success on day three of the meeting. Hamdan Al Maktoum is again a crucial ally, with Muthmir fancied to go close in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes. Back to form at Goodwood over the minimum trip, he’s best off a fast pace, which he looks certain to get with Acapulco in the line-up. Expect him to be delivered late by Paul Hanagan.
Haggas has two entered in the last with Al Shaqab’s Hathal dropping to handicap company, whilst Talyani is looking to build on his recent romp at Newmarket. The latter has three wins from four career starts, including a success at York last month.
On Saturday the Newmarket handler plays another strong hand with no fewer than nine horses entered. Again his juveniles could prove most successful with Ajaya and Raucous competing in the Gimcrack, and Ornate taking her place in the Roses Stakes. Haggas is also double-handed in the finale, with Scent Of Summer looking to add to her impressive win at Thirsk.
It would come as a surprise if Haggas fails to pick up further prizes over the coming days. Whatever the outcome, he can rightly be thrilled with his team’s performance at this year’s Ebor meeting.