Tag Archive for: Dubai Honour

Haggas has sights set on King George for Dubai Honour

William Haggas is planning to roll the dice in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes with Dubai Honour following his Group One victory in France on Sunday.

Already a dual winner at the highest level in Australia, the six-year-old added a major European prize to his CV when landing the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in the hands of Tom Marquand.

Haggas is fully aware his stable stalwart will face a far sterner test in Ascot’s midsummer highlight on July 27, but is happy to let him take his chance.

Reflecting on his French success, the Somerville Lodge handler said: “I was hoping he could do something like that. I’ve always believed him to be better right-handed, but he was good left-handed yesterday.

“He was always travelling well, it was a good set-up for him and he did well. I watched him all the way round and to me he never looked like he was going to get beaten.

“He doesn’t get much credit, but he’s a pretty good horse. Maybe he’s just getting his act together aged six or maybe we’re just getting the hang of him.

“I think he might go for the King George, I don’t see that we’ve got anything to lose.”

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Dubai bidding for Hong Kong honours

William Haggas’ Dubai Honour heads the British challenge as he bids for the FWD QEII Cup at Sha Tin’s Champions Day meeting in Hong Kong on Sunday.

The six-year-old is no stranger to the track, having run there twice before, finishing fourth in the Hong Kong Cup in 2021 and third in this contest last season.

After his Sha Tin performance, he ran twice more last term, coming home well beaten in both the Coral-Eclipse and the Champion Stakes before heading off on a winter break.

He returned to action in the Listed Magnolia Stakes at Kempton at the beginning of the month and prevailed by three lengths to prepare himself for his journey east.

“I thought he did well to win at Kempton, he won well and I thought it was a fair race,” Haggas said.

Dubai Honour winning the Magnolia Stakes
Dubai Honour winning the Magnolia Stakes (Adam Davy/PA)

“He beat (Friday’s Sandown Group Three winner) Okeechobee, who is a fair horse, and he’ll be going there a fresh horse, which is important. Also, it’s raining there, which is in his favour.

“In truth, he probably wants a mile and a half on that track because he is just not quick enough, but he’s been there twice before and he’s run well. The problem we’ve got is the local horses are very difficult to beat.

“It’s difficult to explain how we choose the ones to travel. You just get an idea. They have to be a certain age, with the younger horses it’s hard going east – but it’s good fun.”

Romantic Warrior, winner of the contest for the last two years, returns for Danny Shum and James McDonald and there is another notable Hong Kong-based runner in Dennis Yip’s Massive Sovereign.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien until the end of last season when known as Broadhurst, the bay son of No Nay Never has since been gelded and won both starts at Sha Tin so far – including the Hong Kong Derby.

“My horse is just at the start and I’m excited with this race,” Yip said. “I think he will show you something. I think soft ground will be no problem for him.

“I feel he keeps improving. Last Friday, he trialled at Happy Valley, he really enjoyed the trial and finished very strong.

“After the trial, he finished all the feed and I think now is the right time for his performance to be very good.”

There is British representation in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize as George Boughey’s Believing is set to line up for owners Highclere Racing.

The filly is a four-time winner, with both the Listed Flying Fillies’ Stakes and the Group Three Prix Texanita on her CV, and at Group One level last season, she was beaten only three-quarters of a length in the Sprint Cup at Haydock.

Believing will be ridden in the six-furlong event by British-born and Hong Kong-based jockey Harry Bentley, who said: “Ideally, we’d jump and sit close to the pace, if we can sit in a box-seat position, we’d be very happy.

“Hopefully she jumps clean and gets away into a nice position.

“It’s obviously a Group One, so naturally they’re always strong races and hard to win, but she’s Group One-placed and her form has been solid throughout her career, so I’m hoping for a good performance and she definitely deserves her place in the line-up.”

The FWD Champions Mile has been dominated by Golden Sixty in recent years and the race could be the scene of his swansong performance as he bids for a fourth consecutive victory.

The eight-year-old gelding has an exceptional record at Sha Tin, having won 26 times from 30 runs, gaining connections over £16million in prize-money with his remarkable consistency.

“The barrier draw isn’t a worry, only the weather will be. Now, he’s very professional and he looks after himself,” said trainer Francis Lui.

“I think his condition has come up just in time.

“He’s shown us already what he can do. I’m happy and Vincent (Ho, rider) is happy. He’s brought a lot of fun for us, the whole team.

“There won’t be another one like him.”

Challenging him for the title is Archie Watson’s Brave Emperor, a prolific globetrotter who has provided owners Middleham Park Racing with Group victories in Qatar, Italy, Germany, France and Sweden.

Hong Kong is now his latest foray and there he will be joined by regular rider Luke Morris, who said: “He’s acquitted himself extremely well wherever he’s been. He’s gone from strength to strength and I’ve been delighted with his progress.

“Since we put the blinkers on, he’s improved dramatically and every time we give him a test he steps up to the mark, so he’s very much deserving of his shot at the top level.

“He’s had a nice break since Qatar and once we knew he could perform on a fast surface, the Champions Mile was always on the radar, so he’s been prepared perfectly. We’ve got him exactly where we want him.

“Sunday’s race will be right up there alongside the best races in the world and if he were to go and win, and knock Golden Sixty off his perch, it would be a remarkable feat.”

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Dubai Honour makes most of Magnolia opportunity

Dubai Honour booked a return to Hong Kong in pleasing William Haggas with a successful reappearance in the Virgin Bet Every Saturday Money Back Magnolia Stakes at Kempton.

Last seen running at Ascot on British Champions Day, the globetrotting six-year-old has remained at Somerville Lodge this winter rather than venturing to Australia and was by far the best horse in the race on both career achievements and official ratings ahead of his return in the 10-furlong Listed event.

The 4-6 favourite duly obliged in good style, defying early-season freshness under Ryan Moore to hand his trainer a fourth success in race, scoring by an impressive three lengths.

He will now return to overseas action with Dubai Honour set to be tasked with going two places better than his 2023 QEII Cup third at Sha Tin later this month.

Haggas said: “I was very pleased with him and he looked a bit fresh having not run for a bit. But I thought he was always looking comfortable in a race that had the potential to be messy – and probably was – despite the nice gallop.

“I haven’t spoken to Ryan yet, but I’m not sure he was where he wanted to be early on. Still, the horse picked up well and he did it nicely, as he should do at the weights. But I was very happy with him and it was exactly what I hoped for.

William Haggas was delighted with Dubai Honour's return
William Haggas was delighted with Dubai Honour’s return (Mike Egerton/PA)

“He’s going to Hong Kong all being well – he’s been invited and we’ve accepted. Providing he’s fit and well he will go over there on April 28 for the QEII Cup, the mile-and-a-quarter race he was third in last year.

“He’s won over £3million in prize-money now and he’s a thoroughly nice horse who has been great fun, we think the world of him. He’s a kind horse, too.”

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Desert Hero handed Hardwicke target by Haggas

William Haggas has decided to keep the King and Queen’s Desert Hero closer to home for his first outing of 2024, with Royal Ascot once again on the agenda before a potential trip to Australia at the end of the year.

The chestnut sparked fabulous scenes last June, providing his owners with their first winner at the big meeting in the King George V Stakes.

He went on to win at Glorious Goodwood and finish third in the St Leger, after which Haggas was contemplating a Melbourne Cup tilt.

That was put on the backburner but the Newmarket handler was considering sending him out to Australia in the early months of the new year, given the success he has had with the likes of Addeybb and Dubai Honour Down Under.

However, those plans have now been shelved and Haggas told RadioTAB Australia: “We decided definitely that His Majesty’s horse will not be coming to Sydney in the autumn.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla are presented with their trophy by the Duke of Kent
King Charles III and Queen Camilla are presented with their trophy by the Duke of Kent (David Davies/PA)

“We may well come down at the backend of the year in your (Australian) spring, but I just felt he needed a bit more time and they (his owners) concurred.

“Possibly (the Melbourne Cup) or possibly something in Sydney, we’ll see.

“We are going to concentrate on going to Royal Ascot for the Hardwicke Stakes, which will be his first major target.

“He’s done very well this winter. He will benefit from all the time he can get. It’s ‘do we press the button now or wait a bit’ and we plumped for the second option, we’re going to wait a bit.

“He’s pretty useful, he got better and better last year and we think he’s done better again this winter, so I am very pleased with him.”

Haggas will be represented in the big Australian races once again by Dubai Honour, who won both the Ranvet Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes last year before finishing a fine third to Romantic Warrior in the QEII Cup in Hong Kong.

Dubai Honour enjoyed two Group One victories in Australia last year
Dubai Honour enjoyed two Group One victories in Australia last year (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“He’ll go into quarantine on February 15. We’re looking at the same two races as last year,” said Haggas.

“I probably shouldn’t have run him in the Eclipse, as he’d been on the go for a while, but there were only four runners and I thought he ran well for a long way in the Champion Stakes.

“To be honest, his whole summer was based around getting him in top shape to come to you (Australia) in February/March.

“He will be the same horse he was, I hope.

“I’d like him to come back for two years. If all goes well this year and he runs competitively, then basically it will be all the same again.”

Two more could travel with Dubai Honour, as Post Impressionist, winner of the Old Borough Cup, and Mujtaba, last seen finishing second in the Huxley Stakes in May, are both pencilled in.

“Post Impressionist will run in the Sydney Cup, he’s been bought by Lloyd Williams. He’s in really good shape,” said Haggas.

“Mujtaba might well go. I’m really pleased with his condition. He’ll either go Ranvet or Tancred and then hopefully Queen Elizabeth.

“He’s never won a Stakes race, in his only start last year he was second in a Group Two and then got colic.

“He’s a good age, he’s six but has only run nine times in his life.”

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Haggas duo tune up for possible Champion Stakes assignments

William Haggas worked his Qipco Champion Stakes contenders My Prospero and Dubai Honour prior to racing at Newmarket on Friday, although the latter is not yet certain to line up at Ascot on Saturday week.

My Prospero was beaten half a length into third place on British Champions Day last season and will head back to Berkshire off the back of a confidence-boosting Listed success at Goodwood last month.

Dubai Honour, sixth in last year’s Champion Stakes and second in 2021, won successive Group One prizes in Australia earlier this term, but has not been seen in competitive action since finishing last of four in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in early July.

With Tom Marquand aboard, the five-year-old finished just ahead the Michael Hills-ridden My Prospero in their Rowley Mile gallop and Haggas expressed his satisfaction with both horses – but plans for Dubai Honour remain up in the air.

“I was pleased with that. Dubai Honour may go for the Premio Roma (October 29), we’ll see how he comes out of this. My Prospero will go to Ascot,” he said.

“Dubai Honour is a nice horse, he’s just taken a bit of time to come to himself. It was always the plan to give him a break after the Eclipse – he was in the field the day after.

“He needed that today and it’s only eight days until Ascot, which is not very long. I haven’t got much time to give him another (piece of work) and I’m not going to give him another.

“We’ll see how he comes out of this. The timing is very good for the Premio Roma, but the Champion Stakes is the Champion Stakes.

“Australia is very much the plan for him again next year, all being well.”

My Prospero after winning at Newbury
My Prospero after winning at Newbury (Steven Paston/PA)

The Newmarket handler raised the possibility of My Prospero being fitted with headgear next weekend, adding: “He needs racing and we might put something on him, maybe a tongue-tie or a pair of blinkers – I don’t think he’s giving us everything.

“We’ve found him quite frustrating, but he’s a really good horse and we just need to do something to find that half a length or so.”

Haggas confirmed Sense Of Duty will be part of his Champions Day squad, with the daughter of Showcasing expected to strip fitter for her recent comeback run at Newbury ahead of the Qipco British Champions Sprint.

Following her Group One breakthrough in the Prix de Royallieu at ParisLongchamp on Arc weekend, Sea Silk Road could contest the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, provided conditions are not deemed too testing.

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Marquand backing Dubai Honour to make Eclipse impact

Tom Marquand is looking forward to being reunited with Dubai Honour for the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown this weekend.

The duo are well acquainted and teamed up in Australia in the spring for the second leg of the gelding’s Ranvet Stakes and Queen Elizabeth Stakes double.

Both of those races were Group Ones and Dubai Honour will now look to win a domestic contest at the same level as he represents trainer William Haggas in a small field on Saturday.

“Dubai Honour is all set to go at the weekend,” said Marquand.

“He had a fantastic time in Australia. He got his maiden Group One on the board then his second one in quick succession. He had to beat some good horses in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

“He then went to Hong Kong and he ran a very respectable race on ground that was probably just too sharp (third in the QEII Cup).

“He has had a freshen up since he has come back and I’m looking forward to seeing him back on a British racecourse.

“He doesn’t have as much to find as it might initially look, and he would be a horse that would be well capable of finding any flaws in any of their armour.”

While Dubai Honour is yet to make an impression at the highest level in Britain, Marquand hopes he can take inspiration from former stablemate Addeybb, who successfully transferred his impressive international form back on home territory.

Marquand added: “Going abroad proved pivotal in getting Dubai Honour’s head over the line in a big one.

“As we saw with Addeybb, he won his first Group One races down there then he came back and went and won a Champion Stakes later in his career back here.

“Hopefully this lad can take another step forward for getting his head in front down there and can crack on as a Group One horse.

“He had to bridge the class gap realistically in Australia, but he is an older horse and he is coming together now.”

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Dubai Honour third as Warrior steals show in QEII

British raider Dubai Honour had to make do with minor honours in third as Romantic Warrior successfully defended his crown in the FWD QEII Cup at Sha Tin.

Following a successful winter in Australia with Group One wins in the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick, the William Haggas-trained Dubai Honour headed for the Far East bidding to become the first British-trained winner in Hong Kong in over 10 years.

The five-year-old had run at Sha Tin before, finishing a close-up fourth in the 2021 Hong Kong Cup, and having seemingly taken his form to another level this year Haggas had high hopes his charge could provide him with a maiden Hong Kong success.

Ridden by Tom Marquand, Dubai Honour moved nicely in midfield for much of the 10-furlong contest and appeared well positioned behind local favourite Romantic Warrior.

However, he was ultimately unable to go with the brilliant winner and while he stayed on admirable, he was also narrowly beaten to the runner-up spot by Prognosis.

Haggas said: “I’m not putting it up as an excuse, but Tom said the gallop was a bit slow and the ground was a bit quick for him.”

Romantic Warrior, who since his success of 12 months ago had also added the Hong Kong Cup to his impressive CV, was bidding to bounce back to winning ways after being beaten in his last two races by Hong Kong legend Golden Sixty – who earlier in the day had won his third Champions Mile.

On the strength of that form Danny Shum’s five-year-old was a hot favourite to make it back-to-back QEII wins and a jubilant James McDonald was able to stand up in the stirrups and salute the crowd before passing the post, such was his dominance at the line.

McDonald, who is now three from three aboard Romantic Warrior, said: “He’s such a beautiful horse. He’s electric out of the gates and is a push button operator with a great will to win.

“He is so relaxed and put on a spectacular performance. His Hong Kong Cup win in December was huge and will be hard to replicate but he was just perfect today – he’s a star.”

Romantic Warrior proved too good for Dubai Honour at Sha Tin
Romantic Warrior proved too good for Dubai Honour at Sha Tin (Neil Morrice/PA)

Shum added: “I’m a bit relieved to be honest and I would like to thank my stable team and especially Gary Lau his work rider.

“Before his last run the vets had to look at him as he developed a mild fever and since then I’ve checked him every morning.

“I’m now keen to take him to Japan for a first start there in October.”

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Marquand relishing Hong Kong challenge with Dubai Honour

Tom Marquand is eagerly looking forward to teaming up with Dubai Honour in Sunday’s QEII Cup at Sha Tin following his Australian exploits.

The William Haggas-trained five-year-old has taken his form to new heights this year, winning two Group Ones to emulate his former stablemate Addeybb.

In beating the now-retired Anamoe on his most recent outing, Dubai Honour announced himself on the world stage, displaying a turn of foot that should stand him in good stead this weekend.

Marquand missed his first win in the Ranvet Stakes with a shoulder injury, but was back on board in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes when defeat never looked likely.

“He did what he did in Australia and was pretty exceptional over there. It looks like he’s taken the journey to Hong Kong really well and the updates I’m getting from there are that he looks great and everything has gone to plan so far,” said Marquand.

“I think he is a horse that has just come of age recently. William was very keen on the idea that he hadn’t had him as well as he has him now for a while.”

This will not be Dubai Honour’s first appearance at Sha Tin, as he ran with great credit in December 2021 to be beaten just a length and a half behind Japan’s Loves Only You in the Hong Kong Cup.

“His previous Hong Kong run was a big run, but you’d like to think if he can replicate his Australian form that would put him even a few lengths closer,” said Marquand.

“The ground will be a bit different to what he had in Australia but it wasn’t as slow as it looked like it was going to be that day, it was probably only good to soft ground, by our standards anyway.”

On what has been responsible for him seemingly taking his form to a new level, Marquand suggests a slight change in tactics may be the reason.

He said: “I think the way we ride him now has brought about a change. The day he finished second in the Champion Stakes, James (Doyle) dropped him in because we had Addeybb that day who went forward and he showed that turn of foot, but that was on bottomless ground.

“To be honest, we’ve been riding him close enough (to the pace) until he went back to Australia, where he has really shown a finishing kick. I think that was down to the way we rode him.

“It doesn’t look as if there are going to be too many runners at the weekend so hopefully we can do a similar thing.”

Flaming Rib will be better suited going around a bend
Flaming Rib will be better suited going around a bend (Tim Goode/PA)

Marquand has also picked up the ride on Hugo Palmer’s Flaming Rib in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.

Impressive at Doha on his penultimate run, he was well beaten in Dubai subsequently but Marquand hopes the track layout will be in his favour this time.

“Going around a bend will be in his favour. He won in Qatar really well and he performs to a good level,” said Marquand, who will be riding him for the first time.

“Obviously he has to take on some very good sprinters, but hopefully he can put in a career best and go close.

“I fly Friday night, I’m back in Ireland on Monday and then probably Yarmouth Tuesday so it’s an in-and-out job!”

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Haggas raises Australian satellite yard idea, as Dubai Honour wins again

William Haggas said he was “pretty keen” to set up a base in Australia after watching Dubai Honour blitz the field to provide him with a third win in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in the past four years.

Haggas was unable to be on course for either of Addeybb’s victories in one of Australia’s premier 10-furlong races due to the Covid pandemic, so he was keen to be there to watch Dubai Honour – especially after the gelding had won the Ranvet Stakes so impressively prior to it.

With Tom Marquand back in the saddle having returned from injury, Haggas will have been content throughout as he watched his jockey track Godolphin’s prolific Group One winner Anamoe into the straight.

And when Marquand got Dubai Honour into the clear the race was over, as he quickened up impressively to win by two and a half lengths. Anamoe was caught on the line for second by Mo’unga.

Reports in Australia during the week said Haggas has looked into setting up a satellite yard with Andrew Balding, and results like this will only make that more of a possibility.

“He’s very keen and I’m pretty keen so we’ll see what happens,” Haggas told www.skyracingworld.com.

Regarding his winner Haggas said: “Anamoe is a great horse, take nothing away from him.

“But this horse has come forward for being here and he’s won well today.

“Don’t underestimate him. He’s a pretty good horse and he was never quite right last year and he was boxing against some good horses – top, top horses.”

Marquand said: “For the boss to target the Queen Elizabeth with another horse and pull it off, it’s just insane.

“Genuinely, I’ve jumped aboard this horse on the right day at the right time and it’s everyone else behind it that got the job done. All I had to do was point and shoot.”

The winner is now set to head to Hong Kong before heading back to Newmarket.

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Haggas plots more raids on Australia’s biggest prizes

William Haggas will drop Protagonist in trip for Saturday’s Doncaster Mile at Randwick after being tempted by the huge prize money.

Ben Thompson will replace James McDonald aboard the six-year-old, who won a Group Three at Rosehill on unsuitably fast ground on his first start in Australia.

With just under £1.3million to the winner, the Newmarket handler, who has enjoyed great success with his runners in Sydney, could not resist chancing his arm with plenty in his favour, with former stablemate My Oberon among the opposition.

“Protagonist runs on Saturday and we are dropping him back in trip, which I’m not sure is the right thing, but it is too much money (not to),” admitted Haggas.

“He runs in a mile race at Randwick and there will be some rain. I think there is a bit of cut in the ground at the moment and it’s a soft six.

“So there is rain around and he’s got a good draw (eight of 20), although he’s got a jockey I don’t know at all. But he’s a pretty straightforward horse to ride.”

Though regular partner Tom Marquand has recovered from injury, he will be unable to make the allotted weight of 7st 12lb.

Haggas added: “It’s great that Tom is on the way back. Unfortunately, he hasn’t done around 50 kilos for about 10 years, but there we go.”

Should he run well, last season’s British trainer’s championship runner-up could allow the son of Wootton Bassett to run in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, one of the biggest races on the Australian calendar.

In 2020, Haggas landed the prize with Addeybb, having previously won the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill. The following year, Addeybb repeated the trick in the Queen Elizabeth, overturning his form with Verry Elleegant, who had beaten him narrowly in the Ranvet.

The Haggas-trained Dubai Honour was given a brilliant ride by big-race pilot Ryan Moore to land this year’s Ranvet by four-and-a-half lengths.

Haggas could potentially run both Protagonist and Dubai Honour in the 10-furlong Queen Elizabeth this year.

He said: “Protagonist may back up in the Queen Elizabeth as well, but Dubai Honour will run in that on Saturday week. He won well in the Ranvet.”

Dubai Honour will line up in the valuable Queen Elizabeth next weekend
Dubai Honour will line up in the valuable Queen Elizabeth next weekend (David Davies/PA)

Purplepay, who took the Group Two Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly on French Oaks day in June, was well held on her Australian debut.

The Zarak filly will be equipped with headgear when she lines up in the Group One Queen Of The Turf Stakes on the same card.

Haggas said: “Purplepay worked very nicely apparently this week and she is going to run in blinkers on Saturday week. The ground was too firm for her last time.”

Meanwhile, last year’s Ebor third Earl Of Tyrone, who scored on his Kempton debut for the yard having been with Paddy Twomey last summer, will not line up in the Sydney Cup.

Haggas explained: “Earl Of Tyrone has gone wrong, unfortunately. He strained a tendon, so he’s done for at the moment.”

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Dubai Honour strikes Group One gold in Ranvet

Dubai Honour made light work of the Group One Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill for Ryan Moore and William Haggas.

The five-year-old has contested high quality events all around the world and headed out to Australia to line up for the 10-furlong affair on Saturday.

Under Moore he was a comfortable four-and-a-half-length winner, paving the way to a tilt at the $5million Group One Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick on April 8.

If successful in the latter race, Dubai Honour will follow in the footsteps of Haggas’ Addeybb, who was the winner of both races in 2020.

Issy Paul, representing Haggas in Australia, said after the victory: “We’re all absolutely delighted with Dubai Honour today.

“He was really, really tough. It was ground that we really didn’t think he was going to like and he just really pulled it out of the bag. A complete star.

“James, who led him up, it was his first Group One lead up so that was also very exciting.

“The horse and everyone down here is such a credit to the whole team at home, as well as all the hard work that goes on there,” she told Great British Racing.

The fixture was a fruitful one for Moore, who also enjoyed steered Chris Waller’s Shinzo to victory in the Longines Golden Slipper – Australia’s most prestigious juvenile prize.

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Clock Watcher: Young Guns

Is that the time? Doesn't it fly when you're having fun? It's been a good while since the previous Clock Watcher episode so high time for another instalment. This time the focus is mainly on two-year-old races which might pan out well - or at least better than markets expect.

When pulling the relevant races from the database - those since 10th August 2020 - and ordering by the sum of Topspeed and our sectional upgrade figure, I was pleasantly surprised and at the same time irked that the top four to have run since recording their good number have all won their sole subsequent start.

Grist to the method mill maybe, but slim pickings unless of course you're one of that desperate band of netherworlders, the after-time police.

For the record, we'll cover the subsequent winners, and then have a squint at the quartet yet to go again; we might call those the 'destined to get beaten' group!

The First Four...

Top of the late summer pops was Dubai Honour, whose effort in narrow defeat at Chester behind an all-the-way winner was substantiated by both a good speed figure and a tidy sectional upgrade. [Click the image below to open a more pixel-perfect version]

We can see from the running lines (race position and distance behind the leader/in front) in the blue boxes to the left that State Of Bliss led all the way, and that at the middle (third) call point, which is the two furlong pole ('4-2' of that section, see data to the right of the blue boxes), Dubai Honour was just about four lengths back in fifth position.

He made up three-quarters of a length and two positions in the penultimate furlong (2-1) and all but a nose of the three lengths deficit from the trailblazing winner in the final (1-0) furlong.

The red filled boxes (in the lilac box to the right - confused?!) tell the tale of the finish: Dubai Honour's final furlong finishing speed percentage was 108.3 compared with the winner's 104.1.

Dubai Honour posted some impressive sectional timing figures when narrowly failing to catch Stat of Bliss at Chester

Next time out, and sent off 5/2 favourite for a similar race at Haydock on 26th September, Dubai Honour made no mistake. Alas, at time of writing there are still no sectional insights for that - or indeed any Racing TV - track. However, I'm given to understand this may begin to happen in the near future; Course Track, a company commissioned by Racecourse Media Group (and their TV channel, Racing TV), have been collecting the data for some time and the challenges they've faced in ensuring the integrity of that data may finally be in harness.

It is a difficult challenge, in fairness, and I sincerely hope that I - and many others - can stop whining and start consuming very soon!

Stepping away from my dangerously worn out soapbox, while Dubai Honour's light is no longer under a bushel he does look the type to improve for a step up in trip; and, out of a Montjeu mare, his pedigree offers hope also.

Without going into fine detail, the other three subsequent winners were Indigo Girl, now unbeaten in two for John Gosden after landing the Group 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster; La Barrosa, also unbeaten in two and also a winner in Pattern company since, the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby; and Rising Star, who led all the way to land a Kempton novice event. The last named may be the best chance of a price next time.

The Next Four...

To those yet to run since, and a likely kiss of death for them...

The '85' in the spreadsheet image above is Derab. Trained by John Gosden for Prince Khalid Abdullah, he recorded his number on debut when running up to the aforementioned La Barrosa. Waited with early, his final furlong time of 12.14 seconds on the Ascot incline was clear quickest.

We already know the early merit of that form - the third has also won since, and the fourth, and the 11th (at 125/1!) - and this lad has yet more expectation bestowed upon him as a result of his breeding: by Sea The Stars, he is out of the same mare, Concentric, as Enable!

[Again, click the image to view a clearer version - images containing numbers and text generally blur slightly when forced to a certain resolution]


Less obvious - let's face it, almost any two-year-old in training is less obvious than Derab - is Rival, a respectful third behind State Of Bliss and Dubai Honour at Chester. Drawn widest of all, Rival was five lengths off the speed at the half mile marker in that 7½ furlong contest, and closed up to finish best of the rest.

As well as Dubai Honour's impressive subsequent score, the fifth and eighth placed finishers have won their sole spins since giving the form a solid look.

Rival was due to run at Windsor this afternoon before that track got waterlogged. Expect to see him back on track soon.

The first of the brace of 81's belongs to King Zain, who was winning for the second time either side of a pair of Group 2 mild disappointments. The son of Kingman is out of a Dalakhani mare and may prove best at the far side of a mile; here he quickened well over seven and left his closest rivals eating sods in the last quarter mile.

This time the chart (below, click for pixel clarity) shows 'sectional time' by furlong so, of course, the lower the line the faster the time.

The black line is par, which relates that Lingfield seven furlong turf contests are often more quickly run early before slowing up late. This race, as can be seen, was not run like that: rather, it was steady until around the two furlong from home pole and then a sprint to the line.

I've included the second (Incorrigible, green line) and third (Gypsy Boy, mauve) so you can see how King Zain (maroon) matched the runner up before leaving that one behind in the last eighth of a mile. The third plodded on at the one pace and looks flattered as a result of his early position in a slowly run heat.


The last of the four yet to go again since their spreadsheet effort is Fools Rush In, by first-season sire sensation, Mehmas (see below, image copied from TheOwnerBreeder.com - click on the image to visit their site).


Trained by Tom Dascombe, he had a busy three and a half months where he racked up eight starts between the resumption and mid-September. During that time he was only outside the first four twice: in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot and a valuable sales contest at York. Winning, however, has proved elusive with a solitary score to show for his exertions.

In the Chester race flagged in the image above (you know the drill by now, click it for clarity), he suffered mild interference at the start and, though he closed the gap, was unable to recover against a pair of runners that were first and second almost throughout.

The winner has gone in again since and it will be interesting to see where next for Fools Rush In. Ostensibly exposed on a mark of 82, he could be freshened up by a short break and might be interesting in a straight track six furlong handicap.


The bird may have flown in large part with regard to the horses highlighted herein, sadly.

That said, Dubai Honour looks a colt of some promise and is ready for the step up to Pattern company, though a rating of 90 is probably tempting in the handicap context. Derab will also be fascinating to follow for all that he's unlikely to be a punters' pal.

Of the remainder, Rival is less exposed than King Zain and Fools Rush In; having been rained off today, he's entered in a valuable mile nursery at York on Saturday and that more stamina-testing track, off a mark of just 77, may play to the strengths of a horse doing his best work late around Chester's bullring (the winner of that Chester race is now rated 90, and the fifth-placed horse 82).

He'll need a few to come out to make the cut there but, wherever he next appears, he could be worth following.

But the big takeaway is that we might soon have the significant gaps in what may be termed 'official' sectional coverage plugged by the long-awaited publication of Racing TV sectional data. Fingers crossed, that will form part of the next edition of Clock Watcher.


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