Tag Archive for: Rab Havlin

Wetherby romp sees Danielle enter Oaks picture

John and Thady Gosden’s Danielle emerged as a possible Oaks contender after securing a runaway first success at Wetherby.

Rab Havlin was content to settle the 4-7 favourite in third place behind Winter Life and Cabrera early on in the Burrows Mazda York Fillies’ Novice Stakes over 10 furlongs.

The daughter of Cracksman cruised up to join that pair at the three-furlong pole and then simply sauntered clear to score by 12 lengths.

As a half-sister to Ascot Gold Cup winner Courage Mon Ami, connections will be confident of the Anthony Oppenheimer-owned filly getting a mile and a half if making it to Epsom.

Danielle was third behind 2000 Guineas hopeful Night Raider at Southwell on her sole start as a juvenile and just gave way to the race-fit Winter Snowfall on her return to action at Chelmsford earlier this month, but this was a big step up and she was cut to as short as 20-1 for the Oaks by Sky Bet.

Havlin told Racing TV: “She ran just over two weeks ago and she’s come on plenty since then.

“We thought she’d be a decent filly on turf and we were pretty sure she would handle the (soft) ground, as she’s got quite a wide gait on her, as a lot of those Cracksmans have.

“She was still quickening up going through the line, so I was very impressed.”

John Gosden trains Danielle
John Gosden trains Danielle (Mike Egerton/PA)

He added: “She handles soft ground very well, I’m not saying she needs soft ground, but she handles it very well.

“She got run down by a filly that had had a run previously (at Chelmsford), so it was a good start-off point, she had a good blow after the race.

“She’s improved but she was always going to be a filly that improved markedly when she got on turf.

“She’ll stay a mile and a half, no problem. I think that’s probably where the boss will be looking to go the next day and let’s hope she can keep improving.

“We’ll have to see how she comes out of the race, she probably had a harder race at Chelmsford than she did today, but she went through the gears a lot better today and I think if that filly there today had been at Chelmsford, she’d have won quite easily.

“So, I think we’ll be looking at mile-and-a-half races now and I’ll leave it to the boss to see whether he wants to run her in a trial and where it will be.”

Sweet William seals Summer success in style

Sweet William’s rapid progression continued apace at Goodwood with another smooth success in the Coral Summer Handicap.

John and Thady Gosden’s stayer finished second on his first three outings, admittedly never beaten far, but has come into his own in recent weeks.

He opened his account in a mile-and-a-half Doncaster novice before landing a valuable pot when upped to an extended two miles at Newbury last time out.

Sent off the 9-4 favourite to bring up his hat-trick, his supports never really had much to worry about.

Having moved into contention smoothly to take over from Torcello at the head of affairs, Adjuvant appeared as a threat.

With Rab Havlin maintaining his partnership on Sweet William, it was Frankie Dettori who he had to beat on Michael Bell’s charge, but when Sweet William’s stamina kicked in the race was over.

He ended up pulling two and three-quarter lengths clear and while bookmakers were quick to chop his price for the Sky Bet Ebor, his owner Philippa Cooper had previously stated she is not a huge fan of the race.

Sweet William returns to the winner's enclosure at Goodwood
Sweet William returns to the winner’s enclosure at Goodwood (PA)

However, John Gosden would be eager to run at York next month, with Sweet William the 5-1 favourite with the Ebor sponsor.

He said: “He only ran a fortnight ago at Newbury, he’s fresh and well and has won again decisively which is great.

“He’s a lot of fun to train. It was a long time before he could race but he has a strong view on life. As soon as he hits the front, he looks around and goes where he wants to go.

“I hope personally that Philippa elects to run him because the York Ebor meeting is my favourite of the year.

“It will be touch and go whether he gets in, and if not we will take it on the chin and step him up into Cup races.”

Cooper could yet be persuaded to run at York, although Sweet William sits some way down the field with a weight of 8st 11lb at this stage.

She added: “My husband is an Ebor person – he loves the Ebor and trying to find the winner.

“I’m willing to go with the flow. I’m not going to tell the trainer what to do because without the trainer I wouldn’t even have the horse.

“If they want to do it – could he get in off a low weight? I’m just grateful and it’s one day at a time, so let him come through today.”

Lord North proves a class apart in Winter Derby

Lord North set himself up for a Dubai Turf hat-trick bid after outclassing his rivals in the BetUK Winter Derby at Lingfield.

Winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot three years ago, John and Thady Gosden’s charge has since claimed back-to-back Group One victories on World Cup night at Meydan.

The seven-year-old found Alenquer too strong in last year’s Winter Derby, but went on to dead-heat with Japan’s Panthalassa when defending his crown in Dubai and was back at Lingfield for his first appearance since being beaten just a length into fourth place in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in July.

Despite the lengthy absence, Lord North was the 8-11 favourite to make a successful comeback and could be called the winner a long way from home.

As his front-running stablemate Harrovian weakened, it was left for Lord North to reel in Tyrrhenian Sea in the straight and he did so with ease before pulling three and a quarter lengths clear in the hands of Robert Havlin.

“His work’s been a lot brighter and I think that was a better performance, even if the race didn’t have the depth of last year,” the winning rider told Sky Sports Racing.

“He was a bit laboured through the last furlong and a half last year, but today I was always comfortable he was going to pick up.

“The track doesn’t really suit him or play to his strengths. He’s better on galloping tracks coming off a strong pace, but his class shone through and he was showing us that (at home) – it’s like he’s back to being a four or five-year-old.

“Hopefully we can get back on song and win it (Dubai Turf) outright this year.”

Thady Gosden was delighted with Lord North's performance
Thady Gosden was delighted with Lord North’s performance (Mike Egerton/PA)

Joint-trainer Thady Gosden was in Riyadh to see Mostahdaf register an impressive victory on the Saudi Cup undercard and was thrilled to see Lord North also strike gold.

He said: “It’s a nice double! As you saw, he was midway in the field and he came round the bend and picked up really well.

“He has had a long time off the track, so was obviously a bit rusty, but he was given a great ride by Rab under hands and heels. He never panicked and showed that good turn of foot that we know he has.

“He has won the Dubai Turf twice and hopefully he can use this as a springboard to that, even though there is a month to go. As long as he comes out of the race well, we have a smooth run into that.”

Kimngrace (12-1) benefited from a cool ride from George Rooke to secure Listed honours in the BetUK Hever Sprint Stakes.

Making her first appearance since finishing sixth on the turf at Doncaster in the autumn, the Richard Hughes-trained filly was well back in the field rounding the final bend but flew home on the outside of runners to deny 100-30 favourite Tone The Barone by half a length.

Hughes said: “I have a race in mind for her at Deauville in April over five and a half furlongs and I needed to get a run into her if we’re going over there on soft ground.

“I could have run her in a handicap or a Listed race and I said we might as well have two bites of the cherry to try and get black type. To go and win it was brilliant.

“I said to George to hang on to the their tails as she’s not quite quick enough for five furlongs round here. He did exactly as I told him and he was a very brave, which is brilliant as he works hard.”

Lord North setting the standard in Winter Derby

Lord North will be cramped odds as he attempts to go one better than last year’s second in the BetUK Winter Derby Stakes at Lingfield.

The seven-year-old has won eight times in an 18-race career, but had to settle for the runner-up berth behind Alenquer when sent off the 6-5 favourite 12 months ago.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained son of Dubawi used this Group Three contest to tune up for the Dubai Turf last season and his rider Robert Havlin has indicated that will be the plan once again – with the stable stalwart and former Royal Ascot winner reported to be showing plenty of zest in his work at home.

“We are happy with him at home,” said Havlin.

“It was a good stepping stone to start him off on the road to the Dubai Turf last year so we are taking the same route. Personally he feels a little bit brighter than he was this time last year, a little bit sharper in his mind, so we are hoping for a big run.

“I think I’ve ridden him seven times, won four on him and finished second twice so he’s a horse I know really well and I’ve ridden him his last few pieces of work and he’s in a good place.

Lord North ridden by James Doyle (right) wins the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2020
Lord North ridden by James Doyle (right) wins the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2020 (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He’ll improve a lot for the run, but I just feel he is in nice form and that little bit further forward than he was last year so I can’t wait to ride him.”

The Clarehaven team have won this three times in the last four years and their three-strong squad for this years race also includes 2021 winner Forest Of Dean.

The Godolphin-owned seven-year-old had reopposing stablemate Harrovian (third) and William Knight’s King Of The South (fifth) behind when winning a Newcastle All-Weather Championships Fast-Track Qualifier last time and is the mount of South African jockey Collen Storey, who will be attempting to complete his ambition of winning a Group race in the UK.

He said: “Forest Of Dean is very well in himself. I sat on him again on Thursday morning and he had a bit of freshness in him. I actually think he has come on a bit from Newcastle.

“Rab rode him quite handy when they won the Winter Derby a couple of years ago, whereas at Newcastle I dropped him in and he flew when I pulled him out. It was impressive the way he quickened up.

“I won a stakes race in Zimbabwe on a filly called Raven Girl and have placed in a few other Stakes races as well. It is hard to get rides in these big races and I am very excited for this opportunity. With a bit of luck, hopefully we can pull it off.

“After I won on Forest Of Dean at Newcastle, I said my aim is to ride a Group winner over here. If I could tick that off, I would like to see what the year ahead is able to give me.”

Tyrrhenian Sea won three times on the all-weather last season and returns to 10 furlongs for the first time since finishing second in the Easter Classic at Newcastle last April.

“He’s in good form,” said trainer Roger Varian.

“Obviously Lord North is very much superior – not just of us, but all of the horses in the field on ratings and he will be a very hard horse to beat. But I think we measure up with the rest of the field on ratings and he deserves his place in the line-up.

“He’s training really well, his all-weather form is very good and we’re hopeful of a good run.”

Andrew Balding’s Fox Tales has plenty of back-class but has fitness to prove on his first start since August, while the field is complete by George Baker’s recent Bahrain hero Lucander and John Ryan’s Pistoletto.