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Haggas sets My Oberon another Group One challenge in Prix d’Ispahan

William Haggas is keen to give My Oberon another opportunity to claim Group One honours in the Prix d’Ispahan at ParisLongchamp.

The Dubawi colt made an impressive start to his season in the Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket last month, earning himself a step up to the top level in the Lockinge at Newbury.

My Oberon could finish only seventh in a race dominated by the brilliant Palace Pier, and Haggas is hoping the sun is shines in Paris on Sunday to give his charge the best chance of bouncing back to form.

“It was a pretty moderate run (in the Lockinge), but he’s come out of it very well,” the Newmarket trainer told Sky Sports Racing.

“I attributed it solely to the ground and I’m hoping they have in France a day like we’ve had in Newmarket – a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Hopefully the ground will dry to suit him.

“I’m not sure whether he’s up to it (Group One level). But he’s a pretty good horse, and he’s won a Group Three.

“Sons of Dubawi have done terrifically well at stud, and I’m trying to find him a race he can win, possibly a Group One race, and then he’s a stallion in the making.

“That’s the idea behind it – he’s never going to win a Group One if he doesn’t run in one. That’s why he’s going to France.”

He added: “I think a mile and a quarter in time will be good for him. I got distracted and went for the Lockinge, which was a mistake.

“I’d always planned to go to the d’Ispahan. We might be flying a bit high – but nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

My Oberon is one of two British-trained runners in a seven-strong field, along with Charlie Hills’ Tilsit.

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner The Revenant bids to open his account for the campaign, while Skalleti – runner-up to the Haggas-trained Addeybb in last season’s Champion Stakes – is seeking to take his winning tally to three from three this season.

Andre Fabre’s dual Group One winner Victor Ludorum also features.

Al Aasy poised for Newbury before tackling Coronation Cup

Al Aasy is in such good form at home he has persuaded William Haggas to run him in the Al Rayyan Stakes at Newbury on May 15.

Haggas was going to send the impressive John Porter winner straight to the Coronation Cup at Epsom – but he has been burning up the gallops at home and will return to Berkshire for the race registered as the Aston Park.

“I was going to wait for the Coronation Cup, but he’s too well so he’s going to run next Saturday in a Group Three back at Newbury on Lockinge day,” said Haggas.

“That will give us three weeks to Epsom. He worked beautifully this (Wednesday) morning. He’s a very impressive horse at home.

“He wouldn’t go over the top (if he didn’t run at Newbury), but he might get a bit fresh and silly. He needs racing, that horse, he didn’t race much last year.

“I don’t like carrying penalties in stakes races, but this race is a good fit – I don’t want to go further up in trip for the Yorkshire Cup and I think the Coronation Cup is the right race.

“He’s very powerful and everything is easy for him, we’ll see how good he is soon enough but at the moment he’s an impressive horse.”

Stablemate My Oberon may skip the Lockinge on the same day in favour of a trip to France.

Speaking on Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast, Haggas said: “I’m debating about him. I really want to go for the Prix d’Ispahan on May 30 and I can’t do both.

“I want to go up in trip with him and he’s in the Prince of Wales’s and I’ll put him in the Eclipse.

My Oberon has big-race options
My Oberon has big-race options (Dan Abraham/PA)

“If he’s going to improve enough to be a proper horse, he’s got to do it going up in trip. He was good at Newmarket over nine and I’m just not sure taking on Palace Pier is the right way round.

“I think if we go for a nine-furlong Group One in France that fits better, we’ve got to make him a stallion.”

Should he end up in the Prince of Wales’s then My Oberon could bump into another stablemate in the shape of globetrotter Addeybb.

“I’m not going to turn him away and I’m going to get him ready for the Prince of Wales’s, I think,” said Haggas.

My Oberon is impressive in Earl Of Sefton

My Oberon made an impressive winning start to his campaign in the bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket.

The William Haggas-trained colt shaped with considerable promise as a three-year-old last season, with victory at York followed by successive runner-up finishes at this Group Three level in the Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood and the Superior Mile at Haydock.

Making his first appearance since finishing fifth in Listed company at Redcar in October, My Oberon was a 7-1 shot against just three rivals on the Rowley Mile – and looks set for a profitable campaign, judged on a clear-cut success.

Always travelling strongly in the hands of James Doyle, the Dubawi colt quickened up smartly to reel in the pace-setting Marie’s Diamond before pulling two and a half lengths clear.

Global Giant, the 10-11 favourite to provide Frankie Dettori with a comeback winner on his first ride in Britain this year, finished last of the quartet.

Haggas said of the winner: “We always hoped he’d be a nice horse. He’s out of a nice Group-winning mare – and being by Dubawi, they get better with age.

“That was a good start. He ran well against Top Rank last season – and he’d won well with a penalty at Doncaster.

Bookmakers Paddy Power responded by shortening My Oberon to 6-1 from 20-1 for the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes – and Haggas confirmed next month’s Group One is the target.

“I think we’ll go to the Lockinge now – that looks very likely,” he said.

“There doesn’t appear to be a stand-out miler this season.

“I’m quite keen at some stage this season to get him up to 10 furlongs, but I want to run him in a Group One now and try and make him a stallion – so the Lockinge is the obvious one.

“I think he handles soft ground, and obviously Dubawis go on it.

“I haven’t watched a replay yet, so I don’t know if it was the front two getting at it too far out and us picking up the pieces or whether we quickened all the way home. Either way, it was a nice start.”