Tag Archive for: sean levey

Haatem boosts Hannon hopes for 2000 Guineas bid

Haatem could join esteemed stablemate Rosallion in next month’s Qipco 2000 Guineas after throwing his hat into the ring with a dominant victory in the bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

Rosallion, who won three of his four juvenile starts including the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc weekend at ParisLongchamp, is very much Richard Hannon’s first string for the season’s first Classic on May 4, with only the unbeaten and much-vaunted City Of Troy ahead of him in ante-post lists.

Haatem himself kept good company during a busy two-year-old campaign, most notably winning the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood as well as finishing second and fifth behind City Of Troy in the Superlative and Dewhurst Stakes respectively, but looked more exposed than most ahead of his three-year-old debut.

Making his reappearance and 10th career start in one of the key Guineas trials, Haatem was sent off at 17-2 in the hands of Sean Levey and quickened up smartly racing out of the dip to pull three and a half lengths clear of Dewhurst third Eben Shaddad.

“The way he did it has surprised me, but you can’t say that was a fluke. He’s obviously improved a lot physically – he’s a big, strong, impressive horse,” said Hannon.

“He’s a good horse and he’s just won a Craven by three and a half lengths. He won a Vintage Stakes with the subsequent Champagne Stakes winner behind him and he was fifth in a Dewhurst.

“Funnily enough, I said to Sean after the last race I thought he’d get the trip well and it seems the horses who have been making the running all week have been winning and have been hard to peg back. I know he didn’t make the running, but I don’t think you can say that is an average performance, he was pretty good there.”

Haatem and Sean Levey after winning at Newmarket
Haatem and Sean Levey after winning at Newmarket (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Coral cut Haatem to 25-1 from 66-1 for the 2000 Guineas, with Aidan O’Brien’s City Of Troy their 4-6 favourite and Rosallion rated his biggest threat at 5-1. Betfair and Paddy Power make Haatem a 20-1 chance.

Hannon is ready to let both of his pair line up at Newmarket next month, but did mention a couple of potential alternatives for Haatem.

He added: “This is the racecourse and this is where it matters and on what he has done today, the 25-1 on offer for the 2000 Guineas could be generous to me.

“Rosallion is a horse that contains an awful lot of speed, whereas this is a horse who gets the trip extremely well. Rosallion will get the mile and they will both probably run (in the Guineas).

“We’ve made no secret about how good we think Rosallion is. This horse has surprised me in the manner in which he did it, but I don’t think he should ever have been a 20-1 shot for the race like he was yesterday. It’s nice to have two very good milers on our hands and two with very good chances in the Guineas – one with an exceptional chance and one with a better chance than he had before.

“He’s in the German Guineas and Irish Guineas as well and I think he will be a force to be reckoned with wherever he goes. I’m delighted and the owners are delighted – they deserve it.”

Levey said: “No doubt he (Haatem) is exposed, but I thought he brought a lot of good form to the table. He was a big horse last year and I always thought he was doing well to do as well as he did because I knew he would get better in time.

“I wasn’t expecting that sort of run today, he’s obviously been hiding a bit from me at home. I thought he wanted a mile and a quarter, but I think he has done that really well and he’s going to show his hand in the Guineas now.

“Rosallion is a good horse and it gives you a bit of confidence to see this lad win the way he did. I hope I’m right (when I say) that he (Rosallion) is exceptional.”

Jayarebe powers clear for emphatic Feilden triumph

Jayarebe ran out a most impressive winner of the bet365 Feilden Stakes at Newmarket for Brian Meehan and Sean Levey.

Only seen twice last season, he won on his debut on the July course and was then stepped markedly up in class for the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at ParisLongchamp on Arc weekend.

Only seventh behind Richard Hannon’s Rosallion there, he took a major leap forward on this occasion.

Never far from the firing line, Levey kicked for home heading into the dip and having hit the front, he soon put daylight between himself and his rivals.

Aidan O’Brien’s Gasper De Lemos briefly looked a threat before fading, while Andre Fabre’s Narkez never looked like playing a part in the finish.

It was the Richard Hughes-trained Whip Cracker who chased home the 11-1 winner, another who was close to the pace throughout, but he was beaten three and a quarter lengths.

“In three runs, he’s won here at Newmarket twice, once on the July Course and now the Rowley Mile – he’s a lovely horse,” said Meehan.

“He’s seen that out really well and pedigree-wise you would imagine a mile and a quarter would be the limit of his stamina, but he looked very good there.

“I liked the way he did it today, especially the way he came up the hill. He was always impressive last year and he has been doing well throughout the spring.

“He’s a lovely horse and I think if he would have been over a mile in the Lagardere, he would have probably run a bit better, but the form is really good.

bet365 Craven Meeting – Day Two – Newmarket Racecourse
Connections of Jayarebe celebrate his success (Bradley Collyer/PA).

“He was only six lengths behind Rosallion and that was seven furlongs, whereas today was a mile and one and, as always, there is natural improvement over the winter with these two to three-year-olds. The bare form is pretty good for a Listed race.

“The owner is away and back next week, so I’ll go and meet him and see what we’re going to do. He’s possibly a French Derby type, but he’s also a horse that might benefit for a bit more of a subtle touch for a while.

“The mile and a quarter race at Ascot would be a race to consider and there is a whole summer ahead of us and there’s plenty of time.”

Levey: Heredia deserves to take Sun Chariot chance

Sean Levey feels it was well worth the connections of Heredia rolling the dice and supplementing her for the Virgin Bet Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

The Richard Hannon-trained filly won her first four racecourse appearances, culminating with success in the Sandringham at Royal Ascot in 2022.

She lost her next six races, though, three in the second half of last season and three more in the first half of this.

Back to winning ways in Listed company at Haydock in August, she won a Group Three last time out at Sandown and will now have her first run at the highest level.

“There was a moment of disappointment when she hadn’t shown improvement from the Sandringham, but she is back there now, and she deserves to take her chance in the Sun Chariot,” said Levey.

“We were a little bit disappointed she didn’t reach the heights after the Sandringham because we always thought a lot of her, but she has got over that kind of phase where she wasn’t putting her best foot forward.

“Obviously going back up to the mile in her last two starts has helped, but at the same time she has come to form at the right time.

“I would like to think there is definitely a chance she will find improvement, whether it is good enough to beat Inspiral that is yet to be seen, but she deserves to be there taking her chance.”

He went on: “I’m not sure her win at Haydock was so much of a confidence-booster as fillies can be temperamental at the best of times and you never know when they are going to put their best foot forward.

“Normally when they do put their best foot forward you want to keep on their side and that is kind of where we are with Heredia.

“She was dominant at the end of her race at Sandown, but she arrived on the back of a very decisive victory in a Listed race at Haydock.

“She has got a great turn of foot, and you ride her to utilise that and that was what we were able to do at Sandown.

“She was able to travel very strongly on what was the back of a slowly run race, but she was able to pick them up and stay strong to the line.”

Heredia charges to Atalanta Stakes success

Heredia finished with a flourish to land the Virgin Bet Atalanta Stakes at Sandown.

Richard Hannon’s charge was a convincing Listed winner at Haydock last time out and was duly sent off the 5-2 favourite to add to her tally in this Group Three affair.

Settled towards the back of the field as Roman Mist cut out the early running, Heredia was clearly travelling well coming into the straight and when Sean Levey gave the signal, she made rapid strides down the middle of the track.

Heredia seized the advantage inside the final furlong and while Queen For You tried to match her, the winner proved three-quarters of a length too good at the line. Last year’s race winner was a further length and a quarter back in third.

Heredia was introduced at 20-1 for the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita in November by Paddy Power and Hannon feels his charge would merit a shot at a big race.

Heredia was reaching a new career high in victory at Sandown
Heredia was reaching a new career high in victory at Sandown (Adam Davy/PA)

Hannon said: “She was drawn 10 of 10 which makes things a lot more difficult. I don’t think they went overly quick, although I haven’t seen the time, and he (Sean Levey) had to come a bit wide.

“After her last run I thought she would run very well. She is clearly in the form of her life and she has never been moving better. She was a little bit of a madam before the gates today.

“We were talking about some of the big races in America and she has justified going for one or two of those opportunities after this. I thought we would be lucky to win a Listed race earlier in the year, but she has thrived throughout the year.

“For St Albans Bloodstock, who bred her, they admitted she gave them one of them one of the best days of their lives when she won at Royal Ascot (in last year’s Sandringham Stakes). She won a Listed race last time and no one was there, but they were here today and it is a great day for them.

“She looks great, and she almost looks like she will need the race as she is carrying a bit of weight as she is getting older. She was a very fast two-year-old and she won first time and normally if ours do, they are pretty good and she has shown that.

“She won’t be going stateside until she is a squeezed lemon (over here), but it is up to them and I think they have got to try a big one in America in my name before one of those big trainers in America gets her.”

While America appears to be Heredia’s ultimate destination, the four-year-old could yet be supplemented for next month’s Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

Richard Brown, spokesman for St Albans Bloodstock, said: “We will just enjoy this and have a look. There are some American options, but there are also options here.

“A Sun Chariot might come into the equation. She is not entered in that, but after that we could supplement her.

“We will pitch her in now. I’d say it will either be the Sun Chariot or we will look at one of those American options.

“I read that Inspiral is going to go (to the Sun Chariot), which is pretty scary, so we will have to see who is going where and take our time.

“In America, she can quicken and travel off a strong pace and potentially that will suit her.

“I think she will end up there (America) and we could take her there, run her there and leave her there. She keeps stepping up and I would say we would exhaust opportunities here first.”

Rosallion impresses with clear-cut Ascot win

Rosallion put his name forward as a top-class colt in the making with a stunning display in the Flexjet Pat Eddery Stakes at Ascot.

Of the 10 juveniles that went to post for the Listed contest nine were previous winners and six were unbeaten, including Rosallion, who was an 11-1 shot following a debut victory at Newbury.

Sean Levey cut a confident figure in the saddle throughout, still sitting motionless in behind while several of his rivals came under the pump.

Once asked to go about his business, Rosallion swiftly went through the gears to grab the lead and motored four lengths clear in the style of a horse destined for bigger and better things.

Al Musmak was second, with the hat-trick seeking 7-4 favourite Ancient Wisdom only third.

Hannon said: “He’s a good horse, we always thought he was a good horse – he’s my (2000) Guineas horse.

“The further he goes, the better he goes. He’s in the National Stakes in Ireland and will obviously be in the Dewhurst and we’re thinking about next year.

“He’s not a small horse, he has loads of scope and he behaves like a very good horse.”

BHA clears Levey after ‘non-negative’ saliva test at Sandown

The British Horseracing Authority has accepted Sean Levey took no prohibited substance following a “non-negative” saliva test at Sandown last year, which was later deemed negative by a laboratory.

Levey was stood down by the raceday stewards on September 14 when an instant saliva test produced a positive result for amphetamine.

The Group One-winning rider requested a urine test within 24 hours and when that returned negative, he was allowed to resume riding.

However, Levey was forced to miss the closing night of the Racing League, for which he was the leading rider ahead of the final meeting. He was subsequently caught by Saffie Osborne, who rode a treble to claim a £20,000 bonus.

In a statement, the BHA said: “The BHA would like to provide the following update on the oral fluid testing pilot, which was paused following a negative laboratory follow-up analysis requested after a point of care racecourse non-negative sample given by Sean Levey at Sandown on September 14, 2022.

“Following that negative laboratory follow-up analysis, the BHA has carried out extensive analysis to ascertain the circumstances behind the original non-negative, remaining in close communication with Mr Levey throughout. The BHA is grateful for his co-operation during this time.

“The BHA completely accepts that Mr Levey did not take amphetamine or any other prohibited substance and has not committed any offence under the rules of racing, with the cause of the non-negative appearing to have been a supplement that those administering the test were not aware of at the time.

“A further update regarding the resumption of the oral fluid testing pilot will follow in due course.”

Shouldvebeenaring an early wedding gift for Levey

Shouldvebeenaring proved his versatility by handling the step up to seven furlongs with aplomb in the King Charles II Stakes at Newmarket.

A money-spinner for his Middleham Park connections last season when he won a valuable sales race at York and a Listed race at Ripon, he had been spotted running on strongly in his last two races over six furlongs.

Stepped up to seven furlongs, having finished a close fifth in the Spring Cup at Newbury over the distance, the Richard Hannon-trained three-year-old appeared to relish it.

Dropped out as the field were taking along at a strong pace set by Arabian Storm and Benacre, there were almost five in a line heading into the dip.

Sean Levey delivered his challenge furthest away from the stands, but he quickened up smartly to win by three-quarters of a length. Benacre stuck on gamely for second, with Arabian Storm third.

The winner was an apt one for Levey, who gets married on Monday to long-term partner Toni Vaughan.

Hannon said: “It’s Sean’s wedding on Monday and I’ve got one or two (rings) I can lend him!

“He’s not a big horse, but he’s one of the bravest – he’s got the heart of a lion. I thought he’d get seven furlongs and he did get it very well.

“He’s barely ever run a bad race. He’s been on the go a bit, but he thrives on that. I’m delighted for the horse because he didn’t cost a lot of money (£40,000) and he’s a little gem.

“We’ll look at something like the Jersey (at Royal Ascot) and there’s a nice race at Epsom before that (Surrey Stakes). He’ll handle anything and can go anywhere, but Ascot is where these guys want to be.”

Levey said: “It’s a big day (on Monday) and that has helped pay for some of it, but not enough! I’m excited about it though and looking forward to it.

“He always turns up no matter what and he’s just so straightforward.

“They’ve gone a good gallop today and that’s why I’ve always been convinced he wants six furlongs because he gets that gallop then. Over seven, if they go a bit steadier, it doesn’t suit him.

“They’ve gone a true gallop there today and he keeps finding that little bit more. Now that he’s shown he can run against these better type of horses and beat them, there’s more opportunities for him.

“It’s hard to say where his limits are.”