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Sacred stays at home – but will be back next year

Sacred has been put away for the year after connections decided against a trip to Del Mar next month for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

The three-year-old filly has gone back to her owner breeders at Cheveley Park Stud, and will stay in training in 2022.

Cheveley Park Stud managing director Chris Richardson said: “We’ve decided not to go. We would have got our ground – but she’s a very special filly, and Mrs Thompson took the view she’s staying in training next year, and we didn’t want to travel her.

“If all is well, and she’s still in competitive heart, we will consider it as a four-year-old.

“She’s back here (at Cheveley Park Stud) for her holidays. Let’s hope she develops physically and we can stretch her to a mile, which would be good. We’ll see how we get on. The programme is a little easier for those fillies.”

The daughter of Exceed And Excel, trained by William Haggas, posted wins in the Group Three Nell Gwyn Stakes and the Group Two Hungerford Stakes from just three starts this season.

She was seventh in the 1000 Guineas on her only other run.

Envoi Allen on track for new season after successful surgery

Envoi Allen is on course to resume his career when the upcoming National Hunt season hits top gear following successful surgery on a chipped joint.

Unbeaten in his first 11 races and twice a winner at the Cheltenham Festival, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding fell at this year’s Festival in March and headed afterwards to Punchestown.

However, the former Gordon Elliott inmate, who is now with Henry de Bromhead, was struggling early and eventually pulled up – with a subsequent scan giving him a valid excuse.

Envoi Allen is nearing a racecourse return
Envoi Allen is nearing a racecourse return (David Davies/Jockey Club)

“Everything has been going well since surgery and he’s enjoying his recuperation,” said owner Cheveley Park’s managing director Chris Richardson.

“He’s fresh and well, as far as we know, and we’re looking forward to Henry building him up for another exciting campaign.

“We don’t really know when he might be starting off as unfortunately I haven’t been able to get over there for a while, but I am hoping to get there soon which I’m looking forward to.

“Richard Thompson is very involved and really enjoyed that part of the business with his father and he will be instrumental in taking it forward.”

Envoi Allen is nearing a racecourse return
Sacred has big-race options coming up (John Walton/PA)

Back on the Flat and the stud have exciting options for Hungerford Stakes winner Sacred, who will either run in the Prix de la Foret on Arc weekend or at the Breeders’ Cup.

“If the ground at Longchamp isn’t suitable I think we’ll be heading to the Breeders’ Cup,” said Richardson.

“Mrs T (Patricia Thompson) was instrumental in Queen’s Trust (Filly & Mare Turf winner) going out there and that worked out.

“If the ground doesn’t work out then that is what we’d be looking at, but I think she’ll only have one more run this year, as she stays in training next year, so it’s a case of either/or.”

Breeders’ Cup contingency appeals to Haggas for Sacred

William Haggas would be keen to take Sacred to the Breeders’ Cup – should the owners agree – if soft ground scuppers a crack at the Prix de la Foret in October.

Sacred returned to winning ways with an emphatic performance at Newbury last time out in the Hungerford Stakes.

While the Foret is an obvious target, Haggas would not shy away from running the three-year-old back up at a mile again should she miss France because of soft ground and Patricia Thompson of Cheveley Park Stud gives the green light for a transatlantic trip.

“Before the Foret the only possible is the Park Stakes at Doncaster – but she has to have to fast ground,” said Haggas.

“Unfortunately fast ground Arc weekends are few and far between these days.

“I don’t know whether Mrs Thompson would like to travel, but the Breeders’ Cup is certainly something I would consider.

“If she was keen on the idea then we’d go. But if she isn’t then we’ll wait – I think there’s a chance she stays in training next year.”

Sacred is a two-time winner over seven furlongs this season, with her only other run coming when seventh in the 1000 Guineas.

Haggas added: “Seven furlongs is the worst trip to have a good horse at – it’s a pain.

“There is one Group One and four Group Twos, three of which fall in the same month. So you can’t do them all – well, Jim Bolger might!

“There’s then the Park Stakes, and that’s it. So it is a bad distance to have a good horse at, but that’s the way it is.

“I think we’ll try her over a mile again at some stage.”

Sacred camp considering options after Newbury victory

There could yet be more to come from Sacred after her taking Group Two victory at Newbury at the weekend.

The Cheveley Park-owned filly was an impressive winner on Saturday, comfortably claiming the seven-furlong Hungerford Stakes by a length under Tom Marquand.

That performance was the first time the bay, trained in Newmarket by William Haggas, had been seen since the 1000 Guineas in May, a race in which she finished seventh of 11 runners.

Unsuitably soft going had prevented her from making an appearance since, but Newbury’s good ground seemed to allow the daughter of Exceed And Excel to show her true potential as she cut through a quality field of 10 to triumph at 6-1.

“We were absolutely thrilled, she confirmed what we’ve been seeing at home on a quicker surface,” said Chris Richardson, Cheveley Park’s managing director.

“It just was unfortunate that we haven’t had the ground when we’ve wanted to run her at both Royal Ascot and Goodwood.

“She came out of the race really well and and they’re (connections) very, very happy with that.”

A quick return for the City of York Stakes on the Knavesmire at the weekend has been shelved and although the Park Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting is an option, the ground conditions will be a crucial factor in deciding where to run the filly next.

Richardson said: “She came out of the race well, she lost 14 kilos so she obviously knew she had a race but she did it in style.

“There is the Park Stakes and for that we’d probably stick to seven (furlongs), but I think we are optimistic that with a winter under our belt we will potentially see further strength and more maturity, both physically and mentally.

“She certainly was more mentally on the ball when she ran through the horses and ran to the line and beyond which was so nice to see.”

Sacred is set to stay in training as a four-year-old
Sacred is set to stay in training as a four-year-old (David Davies/PA)

Sacred has Group form over five, six and seven furlongs and connections feel that she may stay further still, but there is no rush to step up as she is considered a filly that will be even more impressive as a four-year-old.

“I think next year is going to be her time,” Richardson said.

“With the autumn approaching, the ground is probably not going to be in her favour going forward.

“Hopefully she might be able to step up a bit further next year, but we’ll enjoy the moment for now.”

Fabulous four-timer makes it an afternoon to savour for Haggas

William Haggas enjoyed a remarkable hour on the track with three Group triumphs and four winners in an incredible spell.

The Newmarket trainer particularly savoured the victory of Sacred in the big race of the day, the BetVictor Hungerford Stakes at Newbury.

A Group-race double across the Channel in Deauville courtesy of Dubai Honour and Cloudy Dawn, as well as the victory of Motawaajed in the feature seven-furlong Cazoo Handicap at Doncaster, ensured a super Saturday for the master of Somerville Lodge.

“It was a terrific 45 minutes,” said Haggas, who is closing on a ninth consecutive century of winners on home soil.

There was no doubting his delight at Sacred’s performance on her first start since the 1000 Guineas 104 days ago.

“We’ve always adored her. She’s never had the ground. She doesn’t want soft ground, she can’t cope with it,” he said.

“Every time we’ve teed her up for a race, it’s rained. That’s the first time we’ve got better ground since the spring and you’ve seen what she can do. That was very good.”

Sacred was produced from the rear of the field by Tom Marquand to lead inside the final furlong and beat Laneqash by a length.

Haggas has not ruled out turning her out again quickly in the Group Two Sky Bet City of York Stakes on his beloved Knavesmire next weekend.

“She’ll be left in the City of York next week. Providing the ground is dry we might have to have a go, but we’ll see,” he said.

Another three-year-old filly, Cloudy Dawn, got the Haggas team’s winning spree rolling with a game victory in the Group Three Prix de Lieurey.

Stepping up to a mile after being placed in Listed races over seven furlongs on her last two starts, Cloudy Dawn outbattled fellow UK challenger Just Beautiful.

The two fillies dominated the business end of the one-mile contest with Cloudy Dawn, ridden by Vincent Cheminaud, on top at the end to score by half a length.

“Cloudy Dawn did well. It was her first time at a mile and that was her owner’s (James Wigan) suggestion, not mine, so he must take all the credit,” said Haggas.

“I’m delighted for him. I thought the filly did really well.”

Dubai Honour successfully stepped up from handicap company to land the Group Two Prix Guillaume d’Ornano.

One of four British raiders, Dubai Honour was held up in the early stages by Maxim Guyon before coming with a strong run.

Leading in the final furlong, the Pride Of Dubai gelding quickened nicely to beat Pretty Tiger by a length and three-quarters.

“He ran two good races this year. It was a bit ambitious, but I was really pleased the way he did it,” said Haggas.

“He won easily in the end. It set up nicely for him and he finished well. It was great, really good.

“I haven’t got any plans for either of them, but I will be making some shortly.”

Sacred slices through Hungerford field

Sacred came with a pulsating charge from the rear of the field to take the BetVictor Hungerford Stakes at Newbury.

Running for the first time since finishing seventh in the 1000 Guineas, the filly stormed home to complete an amazing hour for the William Haggas stable.

The Newmarket trainer took Group races in Deauville with Cloudy Dawn and Dubai Honour before Sacred (6-1) completed a remarkable hat-trick.

Nando Parrado, fired up by first-time blinkers, was soon running freely in front with D’Bai, Dreamloper and Al Suhail close up.

Tom Marquand settled Sacred at the back and was able to weave his way through the pack and get to the lead in the final furlong.

Galloping on strongly, the Cheveley Park-owned three-year-old crossed the line a length clear of Laneqash, with Njord a length and a half away in third.

Haggas’ wife, Maureen, said: “When Ryan (Moore) won the Nell Gwyn on her he said it was liking riding a motor bike.

“We’ve timed her with the latest equipment at home and some of her figures are unbelievable.

“She’s in the City of York, but that is very quick and could undo all the good that’s happened for her break.

“Then there’s the Foret, but she would only go if it stayed dry.”

She added: “She grew two inches through the winter and I hope that after her light season the owners might keep her in training at four.”

Marquand was equally impressed, saying: “It feels there’s been a lot in between her last run in the Guineas and they said she was top class.

“To jump into the race like that was very impressive. She is a very good horse.”

Sacred camp eye return to sprinting at Royal Ascot

High-class filly Sacred is likely to be dropped in distance for a tilt at the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

An impressive debut winner at Newmarket last summer, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned three-year-old went on to finish second in the Queen Mary at the Royal meeting, the Lowther Stakes at York and the Flying Childers at Doncaster.

Having successfully stepped up to seven furlongs on her return to action in the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket in April, connections allowed the William Haggas-trained filly to return to the Rowley Mile for a tilt at Classic glory in the 1000 Guineas.

However, while she was not disgraced in finishing seventh, she is now set to return to sprint distances.

Sacred in winning action at Newmarket
Sacred in winning action at Newmarket (David Davies/PA)

Chris Richardson, Cheveley Park’s managing director, said: “That (Commonwealth Cup) is the wish at this point in time.

“We thought that she didn’t stay in the Guineas. The Commonwealth Cup is a tough race, but it’s the logical race for her.

“She was the last off the bridle at Newmarket, in fairness – she just ran out of puff.

“We think she’s come on well for the experience, and William is pleased with her, so we’ll roll the dice.”

Another exciting Cheveley Park filly in contention for the Royal meeting is Sir Michael Stoute’s Potapova.

The daughter of Invincible Spirit has made a huge impression in her two starts to date – winning by six and a half lengths at Chelmsford in November and eight lengths at Redcar this month.

Richardson confirmed a step up to Group One level for the Coronation Stakes is under serious consideration.

He added: “We haven’t made that decision yet. That is what I would favour personally, but Sir Michael is playing his cards close to his chest, so we’ll see.

“I know that he rates this filly very highly. She did take a while to come to herself last year, but obviously she has come earlier (this year) and she has plenty of potential, which we’ve already witnessed.

“We can’t commit (to the Coronation) just yet, but I’m hoping she might turn up there.

“She’s got plenty of talent and she’s one that we can bring along gradually – and I’m sure she’ll keep improving.”

Sacred stakes Guineas claim with Nell Gwyn victory

Sacred staked her claim for next month’s Qipco 1000 Guineas with a decisive victory in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket.

A winner on the Rowley Mile at the start of last season, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned filly went on to fill the runner-up spot in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Lowther at York and the Flying Childers at Doncaster.

The daughter of Exceed And Excel disappointed on her final juvenile start in September’s Cheveley Park Stakes – but stepping up to seven furlongs for the first time on her seasonal reappearance, she showed her true colours in a first-time tongue-tie.

Settled in behind the pace-setters for much of the race by Ryan Moore, the 6-1 shot briefly looked as though she could be all dressed up with nowhere to go racing out of the dip.

However, when the gap did come, Sacred displayed smart acceleration to take it and grab the lead – and she was ultimately well on top as she passed the post with three-quarters of a length in hand over the previously unbeaten Saffron Beach.

Winning trainer William Haggas was completing a quickfire Group Three double, following the success of My Oberon in the preceding Earl Of Sefton Stakes.

He said of Sacred: “She got beat in three Group Twos last year, which was frustrating, before she went off the boil.

“But I’ve always maintained she’d stay, and she’s proved that today. She’s got a nice turn of speed and she picked up really well.”

Haggas confirmed the plan to return to Newmarket for next month’s Classic.

“I don’t know the quality of the race – Saffron Beach is a very acceptable first-four shout in the Guineas, I think,” he said.

“Ryan said seven is her trip, but I think it’s a no-brainer to come back in two weeks – there’s only one of them a year, and she can always drop back down later.

“I don’t think she does much in front either, so if you’re brave you can wait longer.

“It’s difficult to know with Ryan, because he doesn’t say much even without a mask – so with one on it is hard to get it!

“But he’s great and a thorough professional. He was very pleased with her. He gave her a lovely ride, and I thought she won nicely.”

Saffron Beach is also Guineas-bound.

Her trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam said: “I thought she ran well – I was really pleased, Adam (Kirby) was happy with her, and she ran right through the line.

“She had a good blow, which we knew she would because she’s 85-90 per cent fit, so we’ll look forward to the Guineas now.

“She looked to me as if she’s ready for a mile now, comfortably. She was coming back at the line.

“Adam wasn’t too hard on her, because this wasn’t the Guineas. This was better than a stepping-stone – she’s got more black type, which is important, and she’ll come on for the run with a mile to suit, because she took some pulling up.”

Foret hat-trick now the aim for One Master

A Prix de la Foret hat-trick bid is on the cards for One Master following her narrow defeat at Doncaster on Saturday.

The William Haggas-trained mare has claimed Group One glory on Arc weekend in each of the past two seasons and has had a return to Paris top of the agenda throughout the current campaign.

A short-head verdict in a Group Three at Goodwood is her only victory from five starts this term, but she has been far from disgraced on her last couple of outings – chasing home the high-class Safe Voyage at York before being beaten a whisker by Wichita in the Group Two Park Stakes on Town Moor.

Haggas said: “She ran very well. She’s just been unfortunate, but that’s the way it goes.

“She’s come out of the race fine and that (Foret) is the plan.”

Sacred (blue cap) was just touched off at Doncaster
Sacred (blue cap) was just touched off at Doncaster (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

One Master is just one of 15 Haggas-trained horses to have finished second since September 3, with six beaten a head or less. He did enjoy an across-the-card double on Monday, however.

Another to go close at Doncaster was Sacred, who was a hot favourite for the Flying Childers after finishing second in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and the Lowther at York, but she had to make do with minor honours again after being touched off by Ubettabelieveit.

Haggas added: “Sacred was unfortunate as we had to go a bit earlier than we’d planned to beforehand as the race was happening away from her.

“She’ll go for the Cheveley Park Stakes next.”

Tom Marquand celebrates Classic glory at Doncaster
Tom Marquand celebrates Classic glory at Doncaster (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Both One Master and Sacred were ridden by Tom Marquand, who put the frustrating results behind him to claim a first Classic success aboard the Joseph O’Brien-trained Galileo Chrome in Saturday’s St Leger.

Haggas is proud of the 22-year-old’s achievement, saying: “I was thrilled to bits for him.

“It’s thoroughly deserved. He gave the horse a very good ride and I’m delighted for Tom.”

Sacred goes for gold in Childers

William Haggas is looking forward to saddling Sacred in the Bombardier Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster.

The filly has finished second in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and in the Lowther at York since winning on her Newmarket introduction.

Sacred will be switching back in trip, but Haggas expects conditions will suit his charge on Town Moor.

He said: “Sacred is in good order, and the more the ground dries out the better for her.

“She’s very well, and I think coming back from six to five furlongs will suit. I hope she’ll run a nice race.”

The ground at Doncaster in now reported to be good, with the quicker conditions prompting Michael Bell to rule out The Lir Jet, who was the second highest-rated runner in the field.

A total of 10 runners still go to post, including the Richard Hannon-trained Ventura Tormenta.

He was sixth in the Norfolk Stakes on his debut and beat The Lir Jet by a short head in the Prix Robert Papin, but was a disappointing last of 10 in the Phoenix Stakes last time.

Hannon also saddles Mohawk King – while Michael O’Callaghan’s Steel Bull, the Ger Lyons-trained Frenetic and Measure Of Magic from Johnny Murtagh’s yard are three major contenders from Ireland.

Ubettabelieveit (Nigel Tinkler), Winter Power (Tim Easterby), Perotto (Marcus Tregoning) and Burning Cash (Paul Midgley) complete the line up.