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Ilaraab thrills Haggas with St Simon triumph

William Haggas was delighted to see Ilaraab get back on the winning trail with a battling effort in the Virgin Bet St Simon Stakes at Newbury.

The four-year-old claimed six victories on the spin between July 2020 and May of this year, but had since suffered four successive defeats.

The son of Wootton Bassett had run perfectly respectably to be third on his last couple of starts at Group Three level, however, and was an 11-2 chance for his latest assignment under Tom Marquand.

Morando, a previous winner of the race in 2018, and then Max Vega challenged Ilaraab in the closing stages, but he stuck to his task well to prevail by a length.

Haggas said: “That was great. I’m absolutely certain he’s better going left-handed and he’s had to run a couple of races right-handed (at Ascot) because those were the races available.

“When you get up to that level, there isn’t that much choice, especially when you need dig in the ground.

“He got dig in the ground and was left-handed today and he ran a good race, so I’m very pleased.

“He felt he was always travelling like the winner. I would think that will be him for this year.”

Light Infantry maintained his unbeaten record in the Virgin Bet Horris Hill Stakes.

David Simcock’s youngster bolted up on his racecourse debut at Yarmouth last month, but faced a significant step up in class for this Group Three contest.

With hot favourite Noble Truth beginning to falter entering the final furlong, it was left for Light Infantry, Cresta and Tacarib Bay to fight it out.

Light Infantry did edge right under pressure, impeding his rivals and prompting the stewards to hold an inquiry – but Jamie Spencer’s mount was a length and a half clear at the line and the result stood.

Roger Charlton struck gold with Jumbly
Roger Charlton struck gold with Jumbly (John Walton/PA)

Jumbly produced a performance of rare dominance in the Galloping To Give 10 Years With A Transplant Stakes – a Listed event better known as the Radley Stakes.

The Gleneagles filly won her first two starts for Roger Charlton, before finishing fourth when stepped up to Group Two level for the Rockfel at Newmarket.

Dropping back down in class, the 9-4 joint-favourite barely came off the bridle – streaking away from her rivals in the hands of Hollie Doyle.

Charlton said: “I’m very pleased. I think it was a step forward from Newmarket, where I don’t think she was really suited by the conditions and she was a little bit fresh.

“Today she travelled well and looked professional. I was worried about the ground, but there was no need to worry because she went through it well.

“We’ll put her away now and keep an open mind as far as next season is concerned.”

Haggas readies strong challenge in Hardwicke Stakes

William Haggas holds a strong hand in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot – with Al Aasy, Ilaraab and Pablo Escobarr all engaged.

Al Aasy started the season with effortless wins at Newbury and came with what looked a winning run in the Coronation Cup at Epsom only to go down narrowly to Pyledriver.

Ilaraab has risen startlingly through the handicap ranks and has won the last six of his seven career outings, most recently at York by three lengths from a mark of 102.

In the same Shadwell colours as Al Aasy among Saturday’s possible contenders is the Owen Burrows-trained Hukum, who impressed when winning a Listed race at Goodwood last time out.

David Menuisier has entered his dual Group One-winning filly Wonderful Tonight, who has yet to be seen this season. The Frenchman will be hoping the weather forecast is right and that it is a wet end to the week.

Aidan O’Brien could run the Melbourne Cup runner-up Tiger Moth, Broome, Japan or the filly Passion – while Joseph O’Brien has left in Master Of Reality.

Sir Ron Priestley, Highest Ground and the 2019 St Leger winner Logician are others among the 19 remaining possibles.

Final Song and Snazzy Jazzy top the 63 left in the Wokingham.

Among a host of others to note are Andrew Balding’s Chil Chil, David Evans’ improving three-year-old Rohaan and the Michael Dods-trained Pendleton.

Jane Chapple-Hyam’s unbeaten filly Bellosa is one of 27 in the Jersey Stakes.

She could come up against Charlie Appleby’s Creative Force, Archie Watson’s Mehmento and Charlie Hills’ Mutasaabeq – who was last seen in the Guineas.

Appleby is also set to saddle his smart-looking juvenile New Science in the Chesham Stakes.

Aidan O’Brien’s Point Lonsdale, Andrew Balding’s Masekela and Michael Bell’s Great Max are others who created big impressions on debut.

Siskany and Tamborrada also give Appleby a strong hand in the Golden Gates Handicap – while Chester Cup winner Falcon Eight is one of 30 in the closing Queen Alexandra Stakes.

Classic Trial winner Alenquer set to reappear in King Edward VII

Alenquer has Royal Ascot on his agenda having been forced to miss the Cazoo Derby and the German equivalent.

A surprise winner of the Sandown Classic Trial, William Haggas was contemplating supplementing the lightly-raced colt for Epsom but a minor problem scuppered that plan.

“He won’t be supplemented, he had a little blip before the Dante but is on his way back, he’s going to miss the Derby,” said Haggas.

“We have the option of supplementing for the Irish Derby.

“I had my heart set on the German Derby because he’s by the German-bred stallion Adlerflug, but Germany have basically said they don’t want us as England is on the red list in Germany surprisingly.

“I would like to think he will go for the King Edward VII.”

Ilaraab, who helped put Haggas’ Derby hope Mohaafeth through his paces on the Rowley Mile on Wednesday, will aim to stretch his unbeaten run to seven in the Hardwicke Stakes.

“I think he’ll go, he’s a dude,” said Haggas.

Ilaraab winning his sixth successive race, this time at York on his reappearance
Ilaraab winning his sixth successive race, this time at York on his reappearance (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He’s got a lot to find, but the handicapper seems to think all my handicap winners are exceptional and stuffs them up and gives me no choice but to go for a race of better quality.

“France is so difficult to get to, Ireland is pretty competitive so there’s no other option, but I’ll be delighted to take him there. I think he’s better left-handed, but you can’t have everything.”

Stable stalwart and Champion Stakes winner Addeybb is also likely to be Ascot-bound, as long as the ground is suitable, having again struck Group One gold on his visit to Australia.

“He’s marvellous. He needs rain. He ran twice in Australia on good ground, but was really unfortunate,” said Haggas.

“The championships were called off on the first weekend because of a monsoon when the Ranvet was supposed to be run so it would have been heavy.

“They then put everything back a week and when they ran the Ranvet it was good (ground). The week the Queen Elizabeth should have been it was heavy, but a week later it was back to good again.

“I won’t run him again on good and certainly not in blinkers, but he’ll go for the Prince of Wales’s or the Eclipse. He’s on schedule for the Prince of Wales’s.”

Mr Lupton adds York landmark to Fahey celebrations

Fresh from celebrating his 3,000th British winner on Tuesday evening, Richard Fahey saddled his 150th success at York when stable favourite Mr Lupton won the Churchill Tyres Handicap.

Now an eight-year-old, Mr Lupton has mixed it with some of the best sprinters around down the years but has always enjoyed the cut and thrust of big handicaps.

He had only four of the 18 runners behind him with a little over a furlong to run, when Bielsa hit the front, but he quickened up well under Paul Hanagan.

Woven, Danzan and 125-1 outsider Zargun all still had a chance – but Mr Lupton eventually won going away by a length. Danzan beat Zargun a nose for second, with it all getting a bit tight close home.

“That’s great to get 150 here. I’d like to get it again – but that probably won’t happen,” said Fahey.

“It wasn’t really until this morning I realised there are a lot of trainers I hold in very high esteem and have a lot of respect for and aren’t on the list.

“We’ve just got to carry on. I was still up at 10 to 4 this morning, so it makes no difference.”

“To do it with Mr Lupton is nice. He’s been a legend for us and has won some big races. He loves it when they go quick up front.

“I tipped it on the radio this morning, so I’ll be a hero!

“He’s getting too old for Group races. I’ll probably stick him in he Wokingham and see what happens.”

Ilaraab ridden by Tom Marquand (left) streaks clear to win the opener
Ilaraab, ridden by Tom Marquand (left), streaks clear to win the opener (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Ilaraab had earlier taken his winning streak to six with an impressive performance in the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap.

The William Haggas-trained four-year-old ended the 2020 campaign with victory over the extended 10 furlongs on this course in October, and showed he was still on the upgrade when destroying this field of seasoned handicappers.

Tom Marquand had the son of Wootton Bassett in the last half dozen as Sam Cooke made the running with My Frankel and Glasses Up in the front rank.

Sam Cooke was reeled in at the business end, and Raymond Tusk hit the front, but llaraab (7-2 favourite) made relentless progress down the outside and was soon in control.

He bounded clear in the final furlong to score by three lengths from 40-1 runner-up Raymond Tusk. Throne Hall was half a length away in third place, with Win O’Clock fourth.

Marquand said: “The ground is drying out, and it could almost do with a sprinkling of rain to loosen it out a little.

“You wouldn’t know where the ceiling is for this lad – you couldn’t say he was putting it all on the line to get in front there.

“It wasn’t as if he got there on the bridle, and I almost expected him to do that. I’d only had the chance to win on him once, but he’s always impressed me in that he’d just do enough to win. I guess that is why he has won six on the bounce and still doesn’t look fully exposed.

“It’s a blessing that he’s got that trait, really.”

Haggas was not at York but said: “I don’t know what we’ll do with him next. I think the Hardwicke would be too big a jump straight away and the Tapster (at Goodwood) is too close. I’ve just got to dot a few I’s and cross a few T’s.

“Ground is important to him I think, today’s was as quick as he’d want it.”

Wobwobwob streaks clear at York
Wobwobwob streaks clear at York (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Marquand doubled up aboard the Adrian Keatley-trained Wobwobwob in the Sky Bet Handicap.

Third at Newmarket’s Craven meeting on his latest outing, the 7-1 shot went a couple of places better with a three-and-a-quarter-length verdict over Northern Express.

Keatley said: “We’ll take our time and see what the weather does, but first of all we’ll see what the handicapper does.

“One day he might be one for the Lincoln or something like that.

“He needs cut in the ground, so the handicaps over seven furlongs and a mile at the start and end of the season might suit.”

Bryan Smart was emotional following the victory of Project Dante (7-2) on debut in the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes.

The Showcasing juvenile sported the colours of the late Reg Bond, with whom Smart went back a long way.

“He’s a lovely horse and he’s been very professional since we got him,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.

“When Reg was still alive he told me to go and buy him some nice horses. I did – we’ve run two, and they’ve both won (Bond Chairman the other), and we’ve two more to come.

“We’ll wait and see about Ascot – there’s a lot more to come from him, he looked a bit porky in the paddock. He’s tough, which is what you need in a two-year-old. That looked a hot race.

“We were all in tears. Reg and his family left me for a time, and these are the first ones since they came back.”

Flyin’ Solo made it two from two on turf when running away with the Conundrum HR Consulting Handicap.

David Menuisier’s four-year-old, who had won one of his four starts on the all-weather before last month’s Newbury success, outshone his 18 rivals.

Leading two furlongs out in the hands of Rossa Ryan, the 3-1 favourite scooted clear and was not hard pressed to score by two lengths from Propriety.

Ryan said: “From his maiden when he won, he would probably be unbeaten, but his next two runs on the all-weather caught him out.

“His transition to the grass has gone really well. I always thought he would be better on the grass.

“David thought a mile and a quarter might be a bit short. The last day we got away with it. Over a mile and a half, you’ve seen the true horse.

“He travelled super. I was able to put him where I wanted, but I had to do it the hard way. I had to go the long way round, but he’s going the right way.”

Ilaraab makes it six of the best

Ilaraab took his winning streak to six with an impressive performance in the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap at York.

The William Haggas-trained four-year-old ended the 2020 campaign with victory over the extended 10 furlongs on this course in October, and showed he was still on the upgrade when destroying this field of seasoned handicappers.

Tom Marquand had the son of Wootton Bassett in the last half dozen as Sam Cooke made the running with My Frankel and Glasses Up in the front rank.

Sam Cooke was reeled in at the business end, and Raymond Tusk hit the front, but llaraab (7-2 favourite) made relentless progress down the outside and was soon in control.

He bounded clear in the final furlong to score by three lengths from 40-1 runner-up Raymond Tusk. Throne Hall was half a length away in third place, with Win O’Clock fourth.

Marquand said: “The ground is drying out, and it could almost do with a sprinkling of rain to loosen it out a little.

“You wouldn’t know where the ceiling is for this lad – you couldn’t say he was putting it all on the line to get in front there.

“It wasn’t as if he got there on the bridle, and I almost expected him to do that. I’d only had the chance to win on him once, but he’s always impressed me in that he’d just do enough to win. I guess that is why he has won six on the bounce and still doesn’t look fully exposed.

“It’s a blessing that he’s got that trait, really.”

Haggas was not at York but said: “I don’t know what we’ll do with him next.

“I think the Hardwicke would be too big a jump straight away and the Tapster (at Goodwood) is too close. I’ve just got to dot a few I’s and cross a few T’s.

“Ground is important to him I think, today’s was as quick as he’d want it.”

Trainer Richard Fahey celebrated his 3,000th British winner on Tuesday evening at Ayr and carried his good week forward when 14-1 shot Mr Lupton won for the fourth time on the Knavesmire in the Churchill Tyres Handicap – giving the trainer his 150th victory at York.

Now an eight-year-old, Mr Lupton has mixed it with some of the best sprinters around down the years but has always enjoyed the cut and thrust of big handicaps.

He had only four of the 18 runners behind him with a little over a furlong to run, when Bielsa hit the front, but he quickened up well under Paul Hanagan.

Woven, Danzan and 125-1 outsider Zargun all still had a chance – but Mr Lupton eventually won going away by a length. Danzan beat Zargun a nose for second. with it all getting a bit tight close home.

Fahey said: “Fantastic. He’s a wonderful horse. He’s an absolute legend.

“It was great to get the 3,000 up – and now it’s great to have a winner here.

“I tipped it on the radio this morning, so I’ll be a hero!

“He’s getting too old for Group races. I’ll probably stick him in he Wokingham and see what happens.”

Reflecting on his 3000-winner milestone, Fahey added: “It wasn’t really until this morning I realised there are a lot of trainers I hold in very high esteem and have a lot of respect for and aren’t on the list.

“We’ve just got to carry on. I was still up at 10 to 4 this morning, so it makes no difference.”