Tag Archive for: Hamish

Hamish stays perfect for the year in victory at Newmarket

The prolific Hamish landed the rescheduled Betfred St Simon Stakes to round off an unbeaten campaign, and star in a treble for trainer William Haggas on the penultimate day of the Newmarket season.

The seven-year-old had won nine of his 17 previous starts for the Somerville Lodge handler in the colours of his father, Brian, with his clear preference for testing conditions meaning he has been raced sparingly over the course of his career.

An ambitious tilt at the King George at Ascot was considered in the summer before the ground went against him and he lined up on the Rowley Mile bidding to make it four from four for 2023 following previous wins this season at Chester, York and Goodwood.

Hamish was the 5-4 favourite to secure a seventh victory at Group Three level in the hands of Richard Kingscote – and those who took the cramped odds will have had few concerns as the market leader travelled powerfully and found plenty for pressure to beat Al Qareem by length and three-quarters.

Maureen Haggas, assistant to her husband, said: “He has had a good year, he’s been great. It is never easy when you have a horse that needs that slow ground. He has had his problems so we have to look after him and I think he has lasted this long because we look after him.

“He can be quite difficult. He got really naughty as a three-year-old and he wouldn’t go anywhere so I started riding him and I’ve ridden him ever since.

“I ride him every day and I know him back to front, but he hates Newbury so I wasn’t too displeased with the race not being down there and being here instead. He is just very argumentative, and you could spend all day arguing with him! I love him to bits, but he barely tolerates me! He is just a real star.

“I hope we see him back next year. As long as he stays in one piece he has got nothing else to do except be a racehorse, then he is going to have to be my hack, so I think he would rather be a racehorse for a while.”

Romantic Style after winning the Bosra Sham
Romantic Style after winning the Bosra Sham (PA)

Charlie Appleby’s Romantic Style (3-1) impressed in the Irish EBF “Bosra Sham” Fillies’ Stakes.

A winner on her second start at Yarmouth in September, the daughter of Night Of Thunder took a step up to Listed class in her stride as she extended a length and three-quarters clear of Adaay In Devon in the hands of Danny Tudhope.

“She did it nicely. She travelled into it very well and I thought she did it quite easily,” said Appleby’s assistant Alex Merriam.

“She has got lots of speed. She got a little bit tired at the end, but she was entitled to, as that ground was hard work. It was nice to see her step up on her last run.

“I think after her last run she was entitled to have a go at a bit of black type and she has got that now. We will put her away and see what we have got next year.”

Although Paddy Power introduced Romantic Style at 25-1 for next year’s 1000 Guineas, Merriam feels a sprinting campaign in 2024 is much more likely at this stage.

Merriam added: “I think six furlongs is her trip for the time being. She is a bonny little thing that is straightforward, and she just goes through the motions at home.

“That was only her third run so she is entitled to improve. She has won that now and she is one to look forward to next year.”

Ralph Beckett and Rob Hornby teamed up to win division one of the Betfred ‘Double Delight’ British EBF Novice Stakes with the exciting Zoum Zoum.

The gelded son of Zoustar was the 11-8 favourite to supplement a debut victory at Kempton last month and did so by two and a half lengths.

The runner-up Kikkuli, a half-brother to the great Frankel by Kingman, shaped with significant promise on his eagerly-awaited debut in second.

The Haggas team landed division two with Cieren Fallon-ridden newcomer The Reverend (9-2), while Fallon was also on board his stablemate Laafi, who struck at 20-1 in the Betfred ‘Hat Trick Heaven’ Handicap.

Hamish sets the standard in rearranged St Simon

Hamish will attempt to successfully complete an unbeaten 2023 season when he lines up in the rearranged Betfred St Simon Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.

William Haggas’ stable stalwart, who is owned by the trainer’s father, Brian, has won all three outings this term and was last seen winning easily at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

He will now race on the Rowley Mile for the very first time, bidding to go one better than when second in the race when held at its usual home of Newbury 12 months ago.

“We need some more rain really, but I think the ground will be pretty soft,” said Haggas.

“Newmarket is a completely different test for him. He’s a quirky horse so it will be interesting to see how he copes. We have never contemplated running him here, but there is a first time for everything I suppose.

“He is a useful horse. He’s in good form, so we’re hopeful.”

It was Max Vega who denied Hamish in the race last year and he is one of two in the race for trainer Ralph Beckett, alongside stablemate Lone Eagle.

Charlie Appleby’s King Of Conquest steps up in trip having pushed Haggas’ My Prospero close at Goodwood in September while Karl Burke’s Al Qareem has been in brilliant order since returning from a layoff and adds extra spice to the contest in search of a hat-trick.

“We chose to run here rather than go to France (for the Prix Royal-Oak). We just felt near enough two miles on heavy ground would be hard work for him when you add in the travelling as well,” explained Nick Bradley, managing director of owners Nick Bradley Racing.

“I think the race is strong enough, the last two times he has been headed and fought back and I would be pretty hopeful, but Hamish is obviously in there as a very good horse.

“We go there expecting a big run and soft ground over a mile and a half might be perfect for him. I don’t quite know what his optimum is, when he won his Group Two it was over further on soft ground, but right now this is what I would choose – a mile and a half and soft ground.”

Al Qareem has been in great form of late
Al Qareem has been in great form of late (Steven Paston/PA)

The Bradley silks will be carried for the first time by Grant Tuer’s Nottingham scorer Je Ne Sais Quoi in the supporting Irish EBF “Bosra Sham” Fillies’ Stakes, a race that has attracted 15 two-year-old fillies.

Chief among some talented youngsters in the field is Richard Hannon’s Serene Seraph who was placed behind a number of quality operators in her first two starts before opening her account in style at Newbury.

She now makes her first start for new owners Wathnan Racing and connections are confident she will handle the drop back in trip as they search for some end-of-season black type.

“She will take her chance coming back a furlong but I think she will get away with it,” said Richard Brown, racing adviser for the owners.

“It looks like very testing ground as it was at Newbury when she won last time.

“She has some very strong form in the book and we were keen to have a go at some black type before putting her away for next year.

“She’s a big filly and she will only be better next year, but Richard is very happy with her and we are happy to take a chance.”

Hamish produces glorious performance for Goodwood honours

The redoubtable Hamish bagged his sixth win at Group Three level in the l’Ormarins King’s Plate Glorious Stakes at Goodwood.

The lightly-raced seven-year-old had won eight of his 16 previous starts in all, most recently pipping Scriptwriter to success in the John Smith’s Silver Cup at York three weeks ago.

Trainer William Haggas declared Hamish for a stellar renewal of the King George at Ascot last weekend, but fast ground scuppered his participation and he instead arrived at Goodwood as a 5-6 favourite in the hands of Tom Marquand.

Hamish and Tom Marquand after winning at Goodwood
Hamish and Tom Marquand after winning at Goodwood (Molly Hunter/PA)

Ridden patiently in midfield for much of the mile-and-a-half-contest, the son of Motivator – who is owned by the trainer’s father, Brian – burst into it late before powering to a four-length verdict over Jack Darcy, with the winner’s stablemate, Candleford, best of the rest in third.

Haggas said: “The horse has been an absolute nightmare today to saddle. Poor Maureen (wife) has been jumped on about eight times, she’s got blood coming out of the top of her head because the horse struck her, but she adores this horse and she does everything with him. I’m taking no credit myself, the credit and the praise should go to her.

“I rang my father, who is a very proud Yorkshireman, and said ‘he’s been a bloody nightmare today, when he’s like this he never runs his best’, and he said ‘I think he’s like the north!’.

“He’s quite good at York, the horse, so he’s probably right.”

He went on: “I didn’t think this was a strong race for the grade and he was always travelling well. Tom said after the race this was the best the horse has felt this year. He scrambled home a bit at York last time, and while he likes a bit of cut in the ground he likes it wet.

“He won and poor Candleford was cantering, but got lost in the ground – it’s too tacky for him. He wants top of the ground. Candleford ran a good race, but Hamish was better.

“He won’t run in the Ebor. He’s hard to place, and while people said I should have run him in the King George I couldn’t do that on drying ground. You can run in a race like this on drying ground, but the King George is a different thing. My father quickly pointed out he has only run against one of this year’s King George horses, and that was Hukum and he beat him (in the September Stakes at Kempton in 2021)! He was lambasting me for not running.

“The Irish St Leger is a possibility, but he wants soft ground. We’ve been lucky this summer – ha, ha, what summer? – that we’ve had some soft ground. He’s run twice in a fortnight, while last year we couldn’t get anything out of him at all.”

The King and Queen will have a St Leger runner
The King and Queen will have a St Leger runner (David Davies/PA)

Hamish was making it a good two days for the Haggas team, after the King and Queen’s Desert Hero booked his St Leger ticket with victory on Thursday.

Confirming Doncaster for the world’s oldest Classic as the plan, Haggas said: “He’s in the Voltigeur, but doesn’t need to run there, so all being well he will go straight to the Leger. I think we ought to try it because there’s plenty of stamina on the dam’s side and he’s by Sea The Stars, a very versatile stallion.

“He has a chance of getting the trip. Gregory will be hard to beat, but we will give it a go.”

Hamish again shows his liking for the Knavesmire

William Haggas’ Hamish maintained his flawless record at York to land the John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes.

The seven-year-old was the 4-9 favourite under Tom Marquand and brought to the Knavesmire two wins from two runs and a remarkably consistent record.

A past injury has prevented him from running on quick ground, but rain on Friday and a deluge on Saturday left conditions to his liking.

Throughout the course of the Group Three his chances did come under some doubt, however, as he looked further back than ideal heading into the home straight and had to throw down a challenge two furlongs from home.

Brian Ellison’s Tashkhan and Milton Harris’ Scriptwriter both battled all the way, but it was Hamish who prevailed when passing the post a head before the latter.

Maureen Haggas, assistant to her husband, said: “He’s a great horse and he got Tom out of a bit of trouble today, they just went too slowly and he likes a fast pace but it all went all right in the end and that’s the main thing!

“We’re restricted to how we campaign him because of the ground, he’s had problems along the way so we need to keep him to slow ground – it’s got to have soft in it really.

“He’s a pretty nice horse, as a four-year-old he ran in the Hardwicke and ran a really nice race.

“That was when he injured himself, he’s a classy horse. We’re lucky that at the age of seven, I suppose because we’ve been restricted, he hasn’t got many miles on the clock and he’s still going strong. Last year he was a good as ever.

“It’s hard when you don’t run them and they stay at home doing the same thing, but we’re lucky that he’s pretty straightforward. We know him so well now that we can gauge what we should and shouldn’t do with him.

“He’s just a lovely horse and we’re lucky to have him.”

The weather will guide connections as to where Hamish runs next. He holds entries for the King George, the Irish St Leger and the Ebor.

Haggas said: “He’s in the Irish St Leger, he’s in everything in case it rains! He handles really horrible conditions whereas a lot of the classier horses don’t so we will see what the weather does and go where the ground suits him.”

Andrew Balding’s Nymphadora was a ready winner of the John Smith’s City Walls Stakes.

The bay was one of only two fillies in the field for the Listed five-furlong contest, starting at 7-1 under Jason Watson.

She broke quickly from the stalls and ran prominently, leading from a furlong out and then keeping on well to come home a length and three-quarters ahead of Karl Burke’s Silky Wilkie.

“We knew from her recent form that she’d want some cut in the ground and there’s been plenty of rain here today and the last couple of days,” said Watson.

“It’s really got into the ground and she’s got course form, she won the Marygate.

“She’s a classy filly on her day and when conditions suit.

“You can see from the physique she’s got that she’s quite well balanced, she’s not the biggest but she’s very well balanced and nimble on her feet.

“There’s hopefully plenty more to come.”

Blue For You outdid last season’s effort to land the John Smith’s Racing Handicap for Danny Tudhope and David O’Meara.

A 7-2 chance, the chestnut was second in the race when beaten just half a length and is another with a fine record on the Knavesmire, having been in the top two three times from four efforts.

That record was further improved this time when he ran a patient race to pull clear in the final furlong and prevail by a comfortable three lengths.

“It was grand, he’s a really nice horse and he travelled very nicely today,” O’Meara said.

“At Ascot last time he boiled over and probably ran his race before he got to the start, but he likes it here and could come back for the big meeting and go Goodwood in between.”

Specific Times then took the John Smith’s Nursery Handicap at 11-1 for Jason Hart and Charlie Johnston, after which the John Smith’s Stayers’ Handicap went the way of Robert Johnson for Connor Beasley and Phil Kirby as the 11-4 favourite.

Hamish joins an elite club with successful Ormonde Stakes defence

Hamish became the first horse in over 20 years to secure back-to-back victories in the tote.co.uk Bet £5 Get £20 Ormonde Stakes at Chester.

The William Haggas-trained gelding may be a seven-year-old, but he has been raced sparingly, with this only his 15th career start.

His six previous victories include three at Group Three level, with his win on the Roodee supplemented by success in the Cumberland Lodge at Ascot in October.

With conditions to suit, Hamish (7-4) was given plenty of time to find his feet by Tom Marquand as 11-10 favourite Changingoftheguard set out to make all.

Hamish and Tom Marquand after winning at Chester
Hamish and Tom Marquand after winning at Chester (Neil Morrice/PA)

The complexion of the race changed before the home turn when Changingoftheguard came under pressure while Hamish was only getting going and he was ultimately good value for the winning margin of a length and a quarter. Lone Eagle stuck to his task well to split the pair in second.

Hamish is only the fourth horse to win a second Ormonde Stakes and the first since St Expedit claimed successive wins in 2001 and 2002.

Maureen Haggas, assistant to her husband, said: “He was second in the Irish Leger last year and is in at York (Yorkshire Cup) next week. He could run there if there was some cut in the ground and he told us he was ready, as William’s father (Brian Haggas, owner) loves York.

“He had a tendon injury as a four-year-old – who knows what he might have achieved without that? But he’s one Andrew Tinkler and I fight to ride (at home), you get such an attachment to a horse like him.

“He once ran on good to firm at Newbury but he won’t be asked to race on anything faster than genuine good ground again.

“The whole family like a bit of cut in the ground, and all credit to him today as it wasn’t run to suit him.”

Haggas upbeat on prospect of Ormonde defence from Hamish

Hamish has the chance to dazzle at Chester once again when he defends his tote.co.uk Bet £5 Get £20 Ormonde Stakes crown.

William Haggas’ seven-year-old ran out a comfortable winner of the Group Three contest 12 months ago and will bid to enhance his record on his return to the Roodee.

Following his success last year, Hamish went on to get within a length of Kyprios in the Irish St Leger, before winning the Cumberland Lodge at Ascot and a narrow defeat at Newbury brought the curtain down on his campaign.

Conditions look ideal for the gelded son of Motivator ahead of his return and having been kept on the sidelines for plenty of the season due to the dry summer last term, connections are keen to make the most of the soft ground while they can.

Haggas said: “He’s very well. He carries a penalty but he’s well. He could have done with a better draw, but he’s ready to go and he enjoys a bit of cut in the ground – I believe it is going to be quite soft up there. He should enjoy that.

“He won OK last year and he was good throughout last year. He’s a pretty good horse who doesn’t run very often. Last year it was dry as a bone and his season was curtailed. But he’s ready to go now and we will try to take advantage of the ground while we have it.”

Changingoftheguard was an impressive winner of the Vase at this meeting last year before finishing a respectable fifth to Desert Crown in the Derby.

Changingoftheguard ridden by Ryan Moore on their way to winning the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot
Changingoftheguard ridden by Ryan Moore on their way to winning the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot (Adam Davy/PA)

He was last seen scoring at Royal Ascot and reappears after 328 days off the track, bidding to give Aidan O’Brien his sixth victory in the race.

“He was very impressive when beating New London in testing ground in the Chester Vase here last season and followed up with a good fifth in the Derby and then with his King Edward VII win,” the colt’s jockey Ryan Moore told Betfair.

“We never saw him after Royal Ascot as he picked up an injury but we are obviously very happy with him now, or else we wouldn’t be here, and hopefully he can get a Group One on his CV this season. It’s a deep and tough race for a Group Three, but this is a good starting point for him.”

O’Brien said: “It’s a long time since he ran, but he got a mile and a half well last year and we’ve been happy with his work.

“Obviously he’ll come forward from the run, but we’ve been happy with everything he’s been doing.”

Max Vega got the better of Hamish when the pair met in the St Simon Stakes in October and also finished ahead of stablemate Lone Eagle when third and fifth respectively in the John Porter on reappearance. They give Ralph Beckett a solid hand.

Old Harrovian represents Andrew Balding and is upped in class following back-to-back triumphs in novice events, while Enemy enjoyed a fine winter overseas, winning a Meydan handicap and going close in the valuable Red Sea Turf in Saudi Arabia before finishing down the field on Dubai World Cup night most recently.

With John and Thady Gosden’s Israr a significant non-runner, the field is complete by Andrew Slattery’s Irish raider Sunchart.