Mohaafeth ready to do battle in Derby

William Haggas is confident his fast-improving colt Mohaafeth will be “up for a fight” in next month’s Cazoo Derby.

Shadwell Estate’s son of Frankel shot to prominence in the ante-post market for the Epsom Classic on June 5 when he completed his hat-trick with a highly-impressive victory in the Listed Newmarket Stakes at the start of this month.

Haggas reports Mohaafeth has been in fine form since that second of back-to-back 10-furlong wins at HQ.

His next foray away from the Newmarket trainer’s yard may well be for a racecourse gallop en route to Epsom – rather than taking up the opportunity of acquainting himself with the course by exercising there in the week before the Derby.

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Haggas said: “He’s great. We won’t take him to Breakfast with the Stars, but we might take him away to a racecourse.

“We don’t really need to go, but he just needs a couple of good bits of work on the grass.

“But we are getting rain at home, so we’re able to work them on the grass  -which makes a big difference.”

Haggas sees Aidan O’Brien’s emphatic Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes winner Bolshoi Ballet as the biggest threat to all at Epsom.

“I thought Aidan’s horse in Ireland was the best – that will be the one that will take the beating, I think,” he said.

“But if you’re not in, you can’t win – and if he gets there he’ll have a chance. Our horse is doing really well, but his form is not there yet.

“He beat very little at Newmarket, but he was very impressive. We’ll find out there if he can get to the next level.”

After his five career starts and on his steep upward curve, Mohaafeth will not lack for experience – or, Haggas stresses, determination.

“He’s hard, this horse, he’s not flimsy at all,” he added.

“He’s hard mentally and physically – and he’ll be up for a fight.”

Victory next month in the famous blue-and-white colours would, of course, be poignant after the death in March at the age of 75 of Shadwell’s founder Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Haggas said: “I was thinking the other day how sad it is, because Sheikh Hamdan would ring a lot when he had some good horses – and he would be really enjoying this year as we’ve some nice horses for him.

“It’s a real shame and is very sad.”

Impressive Newmarket winner Mohaafeth set for Derby

Mohaafeth is set to take his chance in the Cazoo Derby after bursting into the big-race picture with an impressive victory at Newmarket.

The Frankel colt out of a Sea The Stars mare, French Dressing, trounced Secret Protector in a Listed contest on Guineas weekend to win for the third time this season.

Mohaafeth was slashed to joint second-favourite at 7-1 with some bookmakers – and connections of the William Haggas-trained colt are keen to run him at Epsom.

“He won well, obviously. I think as long as William is happy with the horse and he’s going the right way and Sheikh Hamdan’s family want to run him in the Derby, that is where we will go next,” said Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell Estate.

“We’ll see what happens in the next 10 days with all the trials. That is going to be informative.

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“He’s earned the right to run.”

Mutasaabeq could step back down to seven furlongs, possibly for the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, after his run in the 2000 Guineas.

The Charlie Hills-trained colt finished seventh behind Poetic Flare, but may have lacked the experience for such a tough test on only this third start.

“At this stage I’d have thought the obvious race is the Jersey, but let’s see how he is in two weeks’ time when we start back with him,” said Gold.

“The important thing is he’s a good horse and we’ve go to make him into a proper horse and into a stallion.

“He needs to get some Group form under his belt.

“We know he’s a promising horse and I’m sure he will get better as the year goes on. We always knew it was asking a lot going to the Guineas on only his third outing.

“We saw at the weekend it’s hard to win a Guineas off so few runs.”

Al Zaraqaan (blue and white colours) is to drop back in trip after being beaten in the Jockey Club Stakes
Al Zaraqaan (blue and white colours) is to drop back in trip after being beaten in the Jockey Club Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Dropping back in distance is on the cards for Al Zaraqaan after he finished fourth in the Jockey Club Stakes.

“Jim’s (Crowley) first reaction was he didn’t stay, having thought last year he would definitely stay,” said Gold.

“I did when he was winning at Kempton on the all-weather and this year when he beat Almigwhar on the all-weather. Jim felt he came there sweetly and didn’t go anywhere.

“We’ll bring him back to mile and a quarter. He has plenty of speed on the dam’s side of the family. We thought Golden Horn might put his stamina in, but he didn’t get home on Saturday and Jim felt he’d prefer slightly easier ground.

“We’ll see if that is the case, but we will coming back in trip with him.”

Mohaafeth roars into Derby reckoning at Newmarket

Mohaafeth was slashed in price for the Cazoo Derby after barely coming out of second gear in winning the Betfair Newmarket Stakes.

An impressive winner in handicap company at the Craven meeting, William Haggas had suggested he may stay in that grade with the London Gold Cup at Newbury mooted.

However, he found himself upped to Listed class against three smart rivals back on the Rowley Mile – and was simply in a different class.

Jim Crowley moved his mount into a challenging position going into the dip and he simply breezed clear to win unextended by five lengths.

Coral cut the Frankel colt to 7-1 from 33s for the Epsom Classic.

Haggas said of the 2-1 favourite: “Maybe the second horse (Secret Protector) didn’t run his race, but it’s very exciting and nice to see him win like that.

“He’s improving, that’s the most important thing. He’s bred to be good and is looking better each time he runs.

“We don’t know whether he’ll stay, but the Derby is a very tempting proposition. He’s won a trial, and we won another trial at Sandown with another horse (Alenquer).

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“This horse is quicker – the other one is a grinder. He (Alenquer) will go for the Dante and we’ll see where he is, because he’s not in the Derby and it’s a big supplementary. He’ll go to York and if he shapes up well he’ll go (for the Derby).

“This horse is getting his confidence. Jim said he thought when he pulled him out he went too early, but that’s because the horse took him there.

“A mile and a quarter is definitely fine. We’ve never been sure if he’ll stay a mile and a half, but there is only one (Derby) and why not have a go – what else is there? Jim said ‘have we time to run in the Dante’, but we haven’t.

“I think quick ground is quite important to him.”

Creative Force (left) continued his progression
Creative Force (left) continued his progression (John Walton/PA)

Creative Force will have his sights raised after claiming a third victory from four career starts at Headquarters.

Impressive on his racecourse debut on the Rowley Mile last season, the Dubawi colt disappointed on his only subsequent juvenile appearance in the the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

However, having been gelded during the off-season, Charlie Appleby’s charge made a winning reappearance at the Craven meeting last month and was the 4-5 favourite to follow up in the Read Ryan Moore On Betting Betfair Handicap.

William Buick’s mount travelled strongly for much of the six-furlong contest and picked up well once meeting the rising ground to keep Perotto at bay by a length.

Appleby said: “He’s progressive and we’ll try to step up into a bit of black type now.

“Unfortunately the Commonwealth Cup (at Royal Ascot) isn’t an option because he’s got no undercarriage!

“He’s very professional and travels well and he’s honest.

“I haven’t got any immediate plans, but as William says, he deserves a crack at a Group race now.”

Bell Rock (left) on his way to victory at Newmarket
Bell Rock (left) on his way to victory at Newmarket (John Walton/PA)

The Andrew Balding-trained Bell Rock (13-2) notched a third course win in the ‘My Oddsboost’ On Betfair Suffolk Stakes.

The keen-going Maydanny ensured the nine-furlong event was a sound test, with Bell Rock picking him off late to prevail by two and a half lengths under 5lb claimer William Carver.

Balding said: “He likes it here, but I don’t think there are too many races for him.

“He’ll be in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, but we’ll keep options open.

“At some stage we’ll have another go at a mile and a quarter, possibly in the Wolferton.”

Chil Chil streaks clear under Silvestre de Sousa
Chil Chil streaks clear under Silvestre de Sousa (John Walton/PA)

Chil Chil (11-4 joint-favourite) provided Balding with a double when bolting up by three and a half lengths in the Betfair Exchange Handicap.

Having finished a neck behind Count Otto at the Craven meeting, she turned that form round in no uncertain terms under Silvestre de Sousa.

Balding said: “She’s a class mare. She just needs to relax and fast ground – she’s got a lot of style.

“The Wokingham was always the aim and I think that’s where we’ll go.

“I’d hope she can pick up some black type at some stage this year.”