Posts

Rous Stakes under consideration for Hurricane Ivor

William Haggas has ruled out supplementing his improving sprinter Hurricane Ivor for the Prix de l’Abbaye next weekend – with an appearance at Ascot more likely if he runs again this season.

The four-year-old followed up his victory in this month’s Portland Handicap under top-weight when handling the step up in class to Group Three company at Newbury seven days later.

He showed plenty of speed over the five furlongs, and Haggas may therefore have been tempted to aim high. But for this year at least, he prefers to stay closer to home.

“I don’t think we’ll go for the Abbaye. He’s not in it, and it’s a big supplement,” he said.

“They have such a draw bias there. He’s now a hold-up horse, and usually what happens is they all clamber over to the inside rail and you don’t get a run, so I think we’ll leave that.

“We’ll have a look at the Rous Stakes (Ascot, October 2). It’s only a Listed, and he’ll have a penalty, but he’s in good shape.

“He’s gelded now, so he’s running for money, and I don’t know how long he’ll stay in good form. He ran a good race at Ascot the last time he went there – so if he goes anywhere he might go there.

“He’s not in anything smart, but we’ll be putting him in a few smart races next year. I don’t see any reason why he can’t continue next year to run like he is at the moment.”

Addeybb (left) won the Champion Stakes last year
Addeybb (left) won the Champion Stakes last year (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

While stablemate Addeybb is also heading to Ascot but for Champions Day on October 16, how he gets there has been complicated by the weather – with an outing at Goodwood this week shelved because of fast ground.

“The weather has been a real nuisance, and now we’re under a bit of pressure,” said Haggas.

“The next suitable race is the Prix Dollar on Arc weekend. But that’s getting a bit close to the Champion Stakes if we have a setback, so it looks like a racecourse gallop or two.”

Hurricane Ivor storms home in Newbury Group Three

Hurricane Ivor handled the step back up to Group Three company with aplomb when showing off his trademark late flourish to win the Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes at Newbury.

An improver for William Haggas this season in handicaps, his victory in the Portland over five and a half furlongs at Doncaster last week took his handicap mark up to 107.

The Newmarket handler felt the time was right to take the plunge and return to Pattern company, but the only problem was this race was just seven days after his Town Moor heroics.

Having backed up quickly once already this season at Sandown and Ascot though, Haggas was not too concerned and the four-year-old certainly showed no ill effects.

While he found himself a little outpaced last week, he appeared to travel sweeter on this occasion, despite racing over half a furlong less.

Moss Gill set the early pace with Tis Marvellous and Significantly harrying him, as Tom Marquand tracked them before asking his mount for an effort with just over a furlong to run.

Hurricane Ivor (4-1) had over a length to make up, but just like last week, he was strongest at the finish and ended up winning by a cosy three-quarters of a length from Moss Gill who held on for second.

“To be honest I thought the five furlongs might catch him out today, but I think the ground was a big help,” said Marquand.

“When there is a bit of cut, it brings stamina into the equation and gives him a chance to finish his race off.

“It’s a good performance backing up that quick.”

Maureen Haggas, wife and assistant to William, said: “He was a bit more switched on this week as he was a bit laid back last week, he was a bit brighter.

“He takes a while to get going, but this was half a furlong shorter so he’s done well to win.

“He’s a lovely straightforward horse and just does what you ask him to do – not much more though!

“I don’t know what we’ll do now, he doesn’t mind a bit of dig and it must rain at some point. He could go to France, you never know, he’s done nothing but improve.”

Al Aasy on trial at Newbury

Al Aasy warms up for a potential tilt at the Qipco Champion Stakes when he has his first start since being gelded at Newbury on Saturday.

The son of Sea The Stars looked destined for the top after registering back-to-back Group Three victories at the Berkshire venue in the spring, and was the 7-4 favourite to make a successful Group One debut in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

But after travelling smoothly into contention, Al Aasy was outbattled by the admirable Pyledriver, and he was then again beaten a neck by Sir Ron Priestley when odds-on for Newmarket’s Princess of Wales’s Stakes.

With connections deciding to take drastic action after that defeat, William Haggas’ four-year-old makes his first appearance in more than two months in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup, and his trainer is hoping he can earn himself a possible appearance on Champions Day.

“Since we gelded Al Aasy, this was the race I always had in my mind for him, but I do think he wants soft ground,” said Haggas.

“I’m pleased to get him back on the track, but he’ll be a bit rusty.

“I harbour this desire to have a crack at the Champion Stakes over a mile and a quarter on heavy ground if that is what happens, so he needs a run.

“He’ll be better for the race, but I think he’ll run a good race.”

Al Aasy’s four rivals include his stablemate Ilaraab, who bids to bounce back from a disappointing performance when joint-favourite for last month’s Ebor at York.

Ilaraab (left) joins stablemate Al Aasy at Newbury
Ilaraab (left) joins stablemate Al Aasy at Newbury (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Haggas added: “Ilaraab never looked happy in the Ebor. He was drawn wide, and it was almost game over really.

“Tom (Marquand) said he took a false step at the top of the straight, and that was it. We’ll see how we get on – Tom’s on board, and we’ve put cheekpieces on him.

“We need to find out where he’s at, because he was such a nice horse last year and started well this season in the Jorvik (Handicap), but then he’s tailed off – so we need to get on with him and make his mind up a bit.”

Andrew Balding’s course winner Foxes Tales, David Simcock’s outsider Ad Infinitum and Sir Michael Stoute’s Winter Hill Stakes scorer Solid Stone complete the field.

Bruce Raymond, racing manager for Solid Stone’s owner Saeed Suhail, said: “He’s been working extremely well. There’s only five runners, and Ryan Moore has got to go to America, so we’ve got William Buick riding – which is always a plus.

“Obviously this is the right race for him. He’s a good, tough horse.”

Hurricane Ivor makes a swift appearance after winning at Doncaster
Hurricane Ivor makes a swift appearance after winning at Doncaster (Mike Egerton/PA)

The other Group Three on the card is the Dubai International Airport World Trophy, which sees the Haggas-trained Hurricane Ivor step up in class after last weekend’s triumph in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster.

“He’s in good form, and obviously the question is whether this comes too soon. I’m just hoping he can win,” said Haggas.

“He’s four years old now and he looks great. He’s taking his racing well, and the only other time I’ve run him back as quick as this he ran a great race at Ascot when just touched off.

“Last week he got a bit too far back – but since he came to us the two key things that have made a difference, I think, have been gelding him and riding him with a bit more restraint.

“I think he likes passing horses, whereas in France he used to lead a lot, and often when they do that for a long time they sort of wait.”

Hurricane Ivor is taken on by Tis Marvellous, bidding to complete a hat-trick for Clive Cox, and the Charlie Hills-trained Khaadem, who claimed his first victory in more than two years in the Scarbrough Stakes at Doncaster.

Addeybb set for Goodwood ahead of Champions Day

William Haggas is tuning up his two big guns for Champions Day, with Addeybb set to run at Goodwood on Wednesday should conditions allow.

The current Champion Stakes title holder has not been seen since running with credit behind St Mark’s Basilica in the Eclipse in July, finishing in front of subsequent Juddmonte International winner Mishriff.

While he was entered at Ayr and Newbury on Saturday, Haggas felt the ground would be too quick, and with the prospect of rain this weekend and the Foundation Stakes at Goodwood on Wednesday available, he has decided to wait.

He will be joined at Ascot next month by the unbeaten Baaeed, who is set to have a mouthwatering clash with Palace Pier in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

“The ground wasn’t soft enough for Addeybb this weekend but he needs a run, so we’ve put him in at Goodwood on Wednesday,” said Haggas.

“He’ll almost nearly have to run there, but I didn’t want to flog him up to Ayr when the forecast I saw said the rain, which they thought was coming on Friday, has dissipated now.

“It’s a shame but Goodwood will be fine, hopefully. They are due some rain at the weekend and I’m hoping they get plenty.”

Baaeed has emerged as one of the best horses in training
Baaeed has emerged as one of the best horses in training (Tim Goode/PA)

Baaeed handled the step up to Group Once company when winning the Prix du Moulin at ParisLongchamp, beating the Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Order Of Australia to stretch his winning run to five.

“Baaeed is in good shape and aiming for the QEII,” said Haggas.

“We’re planning to run at Ascot, but if it’s bottomless we may have to think again.

“He’s been fine since the race and the I think that race will have done him good and I’m happy with him.”

Hurricane Ivor breezes home in Portland contest

Hurricane Ivor earned a step up in class when carrying top weight to victory in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster.

A smart prospect in France as a juvenile, he had lost his way slightly before joining William Haggas this season.

Connections thought they had lost – then won – at Sandown on his second start in England, only for a dead-heat to be called after photo-finish confusion and he went on to be second at Ascot in July.

He was a close third at York last time out but overnight rain seemed to be in his favour as, despite having only one behind him with two furlongs to run, he stormed home under Tom Marquand to beat Boundless Power by half a length.

Haggas’ wife, Maureen, said: “He’s a charming horse, he’s a lovely horse to have around and he’s done nothing but improve all year.

“That was a good performance today off top weight. The trip seemed to suit really well and he likes a bit of dig in the ground.

“I don’t think he’ll go to Ayr next week (for the Ayr Gold Cup), his penalty probably puts him out of it and William said we might look at black-type races now.”

Hollie Doyle came from last to first in the opening Vertem Nursery Handicap on Desert Angel.

Desert Angel and Hollie Doyle (right) got the day off a flyer
Desert Angel and Hollie Doyle (right) got the day off a flyer (Mike Egerton/PA)

Previously a five-race maiden, trainer Richard Hannon had reached for the blinkers for the first time and the headgear clearly worked the oracle.

Non-runners reduced the field to four, with Roger Charlton’s La Pulga attempting to make all and he had seen off the others before Doyle pounced late on the 15-2 outsider of four.

“He’s always had a lot of ability this horse, but he’s had a lot more ability than he’s been showing us,” sad Hannon.

“I wanted to have him cut (gelded) but we gave him one more chance with the blinkers first time and he’s won pretty well, which doesn’t surprise me as he’s always had the ability.

“We’ll see what the handicapper does, he is improving and he clearly likes the softer ground. There might be something at Newmarket for him.”

Monday Musings: Treatment of Trainers and Jockeys Chalk and Cheese

On the fateful Saturday evening of July 17 this year, an apprentice seemingly with the world at his feet made a misjudgement for which he is still paying, writes Tony Stafford. Had he been able to maintain the income per month with rides and percentage of winners of the first half of the year he would have added around £7,500 to his earnings so well was he progressing. Instead, Mark Crehan was given a 28-day salutary suspension in the manner of the old Army traditions which historically governed the Jockey Club’s total domination of racing.

On that Saturday, having only his fifth ride for Sir Michael Stoute – three of the previous four had won – he thought he was passing the winning post in the lead on Aerion Power, when he was in fact just at the half-furlong pole.

Replicating the same mistake that many riders have made down the decades, he eased his mount and was immediately horrified when two of his rivals continued urging theirs and went past him. He rallied Aerion Power to good enough effect to claw back second place, but Connor Beasley riding Colony Queen had a neck to spare at the line.

That was 51 days ago, and it was precisely one day before that when he last rode a winner. He has yet to add to the 38 he had clocked up from 225 rides in the first half of the year. Since his ban ended his ten rides have been sprinkled with near misses, one for Sir Michael who showed his support in the best way possible, and George Boughey his boss with five.

It is not just the loss of earnings but the complete halt to his momentum that is so frustrating. The late John McCririck was always most vociferous in cases like Mark’s: “Ban them for life,” might have been his coda such was his one-eyed concern with the men in the betting shops and their small daily wagers.

It seems, though, that there are mistakes and mistakes and, depending on who is making them, the penalty can be way out of proportion. The same month as Crehan’s blunder, Jessica Harrington’s course representative allowed the three-year-old filly Aurora Princess rather than the two-year-old Alezarine to run in the 2yo maiden at the Galway Festival. She finished first, unsurprisingly, but the error was discovered and she was automatically disqualified, the race going to the favourite from the Aidan O’Brien stable who had crossed the line second.

Later Mrs Harrington said it was an “indefensible blunder” and got a ticking off and a €2,000 fine. Life goes on for the top people, Aurora Princess winning as herself at Clonmel the other day. Alizerine made her “real” debut early in August and was unplaced.

A more amazing error – one described by Aidan O’Brien as “a million-to-one chance” was the mix-up in caps for two of the trainer’s runners in Deryck Smith’s purple colours in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last autumn. Mother Earth, the subsequent 1,000 Guineas and Prix Rothschild heroine, ran as Snowfall, called over the line third in this Group 1 race, while Snowfall in eighth was identified throughout as Mother Earth.

Considering the pair has now won five Group 1 races between them and Epsom, Curragh and Yorkshire Oaks winner Snowfall heads betting on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, a £4,000 fine was, with hindsight, hardly swingeing. I doubt the penalty troubled Aidan’s liquidity any more than Jessie’s two grand or even the bargain-basement £1k handed out to their similarly high-powered UK counterpart William Haggas this weekend.

A last fortnight tally of 15 winners from 50 runners with around £316,000 in first prizes alone is testament to his talent, power of stable and ability to find races all the way through his team. Winning Saturday’s September Stakes at Kempton with his father Brian‘s Hamish, brought back to fitness after a long absence for a tendon injury, was the emotional highlight of an eventful weekend, crowned by the fifth and finest success for the unbeaten Baeed in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp yesterday. Useful yardsticks Order Of Australia (Aidan) and Victor Ludorum (Fabre) followed this late challenger for Europe’s champion miler status over the line in Paris.

But over at Ascot on Saturday all was not well. There was a £38k handicap on the card and Haggas horses Chalk Stream and Candleford crossed the line in the first two places, Chalk Stream well ahead of his much longer-priced and apprentice-ridden stablemate. On weighing in, however, Candleford’s rider drew light and Haggas admitted that when saddling him he left the weight cloth on the head lad’s bucket and simply forgot about it.

So Candleford ran with a much lower weight than required and the trainer’s immediate worry was whether the BHA handicappers would take that into consideration especially as the £18k second prize was forfeit. Trainers receive a higher share of winning prizes than jockeys and William can expect more than £30k to go into his Weatherby’s account just for the last fortnight’s work.

There is absolutely no complaint intended about the trainer, apart from an unexpected lapse, just that the three examples I’ve listed are so blatantly lenient in comparison to the draconian treatment of Mark Crehan. I was pleased to see Frankie Dettori joining Sir Michael Stoute in pledging his support for the lad, but as with prizemoney and the scandal of the Cambridgeshire, referred to last week, something seriously needs to be done.

I note that while the Cambridgeshire, traditional first leg of the Autumm Double in the days when bookmakers were prepared to risk a few quid in case someone might get them both – in my time on the Daily Telegraph I managed it a couple of times – is worth £61k to the winner, the Cesarewitch over twice the distance, carries more than twice the money – £128K.

The top weight in the first leg has a handicap mark of 109 and there are 121 entries. Top weight in the Cesarewitch is 108 and 94 have been entered. It seems ridiculous given the tradition that there should be such a disparity. Among the latter race’s entries and now with a 4lb penalty after her €40k free kick in France the other day is the 2020 Triumph Hurdle winner, Burning Victory.

Yet to run on the Flat either in her now home base of Ireland or in England, she has two Flat wins in France to her credit for Willie Mullins this summer. I was gratified to see that the BHB handicapper thought she merited 96 rather than the French 88 when Cesarewitch entries were made and the 4lb more as against the French 11lb for Deauville brings them in line. How about her being the one from his 14 entries that is most fancied – he usually lines one up in particular for it? The fact she is only 12/1 suggests the guess might have some mileage.

As the ink was barely dry – yes I’m still living in the dark ages, but at least I don’t talk about quill pens! – on last week’s article, I started reading a book that has been on my shelves for years and one I have always assumed I’d read. I hadn’t!

Called Horsetrader, it was written in 1994 by noted author Patrick Robinson, with Nick Robinson, and outlined the 20 years of Coolmore stud dominance in racing and breeding and then the challenge made to them by Arab owners, particularly Sheikh Mohammed. Unexpected meetings in life can propel our future in a totally unexpected direction, and it was such an unlikely eventuality that years later brought Robert Sangster, heir to the Vernon’s Pools fortune, into a partnership with John Magnier and his father-in-law, Vincent O’Brien.

In his schooldays at Repton College, Sangster had an opinion that Vincent O’Brien must be the greatest trainer of racehorses in the world. “Had the Irishman not won three consecutive Grand Nationals and three Gold Cups and Champion Hurdles in the post-war era before turning to the Flat?”, he reasoned.

Later, as he was feeling his way in the family firm, Sangster used to meet up with several of the other well-connected young men in Liverpool where Vernon’s was based. There he met Nick Robinson, grandson of businessman Sir Foster Robinson, once a top cricketer and now a horse breeder outside his commercial interests.

Sangster’s chosen hobbies were golf on the Hoylake links where father Vernon would become Men’s Captain and mother Peggy, Lady Captain, and more seriously boxing. He won a dozen fights unbeaten before going into the army as a private soldier and another dozen in the service as a heavyweight. His godfather had taken him under his wing, often travelling down to London for big fight nights and for tuition with the great middleweight British champion, Freddie Mills.

But racing under Robinson’s prompting came into his life and it was with a horse trained locally by Eric Cousins, who was to be his first trainer before he graduated to Vincent, that he became enraptured by the sport.

On one of their Kardomah coffee house meetings, Nick Robinson told the gathering that Cousins’ horse Chalk Stream – I knew the name was familiar when seeing Saturday’s race – would win the Lincoln. It was 1960 and young Robert became captivated by the thought of a horse being “laid out” to land a big gamble, especially when his friend knew chapter and verse and also “everything it seemed” about racing.

Chalk Stream lost that race but won the Liverpool Autumn Cup in the days when Aintree still staged Flat racing, and from then there was no stopping him. Derby winners, stallions, champion owner and eventually breeder accolades all followed in great profusion over the next four decades.

I’d only got to page 6 when I saw fit to text Robert’s son Sam saying: “Now I know why you and your brothers are who you are!”

The book ends in 1994 when our hero is still intertwined with Coolmore, preparing to keep his massive new investment in Manton along with his 100 broodmares and breeding rights to some of the best and most highly valued stallions in the world. The latter chapter, just as successful but now with Michael Tabor and Smith joining Magnier and Aidan O’Brien, equally deserves telling.

I did a little research about Patrick Robinson, born in Kent but who now lives in the USA and is 81. Initially I assumed he must have been Nick’s son, but now am prepared to guess he was his elder brother as Nick is 77. As usual there’s nobody to ask once Wikepedia fails me at 3 a.m. on Monday morning.

Sadly I heard at the sales at Newmarket last week that Nick Robinson hadn’t been well. Robert Sangster of course died impossibly long ago in 2004 aged only 67. Two Derby wins – although he had owned Dr Devious before selling him too – 27 European Classic races and more than 100 Group 1 horses fell to his colours. Happily they are still seen on a number of the Sam Sangster syndicates based at Manton under Brian Meehan.

Quite a few were in action at the recently concluded Racing League where Brian, Alan King and Roger Charlton joined forces. Despite a paucity of publicity outside Sky Sports racing’s coverage, Meehan reckons it was a very good initiative that should be persevered with.

Six evenings of six races with £25k to each winner has been a target for some of the leading trainers and he believes there is scope for an expansion next year. “When it happens you should come along. You would enjoy it!” As I enjoy anything to do with racing or sales, I’m sure I would.

- TS

Brilliant Baaeed delivers Group One gold at ParisLongchamp

Baaeed continued his meteoric rise as he stayed unbeaten with a decisive victory on his Group One debut in the Prix du Moulin at ParisLongchamp.

William Haggas’ colt took the measure of top-level opposition at his first attempt, extending his winning sequence to five in a career which only began in a Leicester maiden in June.

Jim Crowley had Shadwell’s son of Sea The Stars in touch in a field of six, as outsider Novemba still led by five lengths into the straight – having been rushed to the front, after missing the break.

Baaeed was moving well, however, and confirmed he had matters in hand, taking over two furlongs out and proving too strong in the finish to win by a length and a quarter as the 4-11 favourite from Aidan O’Brien’s Breeders’ Cup winner Order Of Australia.

A delighted Haggas was winning this race for the second time, after Aqlaam struck in the same colours in 2009.

The Newmarket trainer was not in attendance, but having watched the race on television, he sensed that Baaeed was perhaps a little fresh for his first start in more than five weeks.

He said: “It was a funny, complicated race for him because he got into a nice position and then the German horse (Novemba) came round and set him alight.

“He was a bit wide. He and (eventual fourth) Snow Lantern were both a bit free in third and fourth.

“But once he settled down, I liked the way he did it.

“He actually raced, for me, a bit fresh. He just looked pleased to be out, so that will have done him a lot of good.

“He’s won, which is the most important thing, and we’re delighted. We’ll celebrate.

Baaeed was very busy with four mid-summer runs and Haggas agreed it is remarkable how far the three-year-old has come in such a short space of time.

He said: “Absolutely – (but) he’s had a while since his last run.

“He hasn’t run for five weeks. I think he thought his season was over!

“He’d run quite a few times before that. But he just looked a bit pleased to be out. He was enthusiastic to post, and he raced more keenly than he has so far this year.

“But he’ll be fine. He’s a charming horse, and a good one – a fast one, too.”

Bookmakers Coral were among those impressed again by Baaeed, promoting him ahead of Palace Pier to be clear favourite at 7-4 (from 11-4) for next month’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

Haggas confirmed that will be his end-of-season target, as long as he is showing the right signs on his return from France.

“If he runs again (this season), that’ll be the race he’ll run in,” he said.

“But we’ll see about that, we’ll see how he is.”

Crowley reported that Baaeed did run more freely than he has in the past, but he was impressed nonetheless by how he settled matters when asked.

“Obviously he’s been winning races very easily back home,” he told Sky Sports Racing.

“This was his first step up to Group One company, fifth run of his life – and for me, he’s still learning.

“I thought he did very well, because the pacemaker missed it, and then chased him up – and I didn’t have any cover.

“He relaxed OK, and he picked up well. When he hit the front, he was just idling a little bit – and he was pricking his ears in front.

“It was a good performance. I hope he can keep progressing – I think he will do.”

Baaeed’s victories to date have come on ground ranging from just good to firm to this good to soft, but Crowley is confident he will be adaptable if necessary on a more testing surface.

“He stays the mile very, very well,” he said.

“He’s not too ground dependent – it’s beautiful ground out there today, and he went very well on it.

“He’s got a fantastic mind. He’s very laid-back.

Trainer William Haggas has confirmed Baaeed may well end his season in Ascot's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes next month
Trainer William Haggas has confirmed Baaeed may well end his season in Ascot’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes next month (Nigel French/PA)

“He was a little bit fresh today. It’s the first time he’s been abroad, and he took it all in his stride.

“Walking round the paddock, he was cool as a cucumber.”

Baaeed appears likely to stick to a mile for the foreseeable future, but as with underfoot conditions, Crowley is confident a move up in trip would be feasible.

He added: “As for further – yes, I’m sure he’ll stay.

“Whether connections will want to go further with him at the moment, when he’s winning Group Ones, we’ll have to wait and see.

“I wouldn’t worry (about soft ground). He ran on good to soft before – at Goodwood (in the Group Three Thoroughbred Stakes) it was on the slower side.

“Because he stays the mile very well, I think if it came up soft over a mile, I wouldn’t be too concerned.”

Chalk Stream roars to hat-trick at Ascot in colours of the Queen

Chalk Stream continued his progression with a convincing victory to complete his hat-trick for the Queen in the Lavazza Handicap at Ascot.

The three-year-old gelding had been on an upward curve this summer with wins at York and Ripon, and he stepped up again with a career-best performance.

Cieren Fallon had the William Haggas-trained son of Sea The Stars wide for a while in the early stages, as Auriferous and State Of Bliss cut out the pace.

Chalk Stream (13-2) then crossed over and slotted in nicely behind the lead, before being unleashed with a storming run to put the race to bed in a matter of strides.

He went on to win by four and three-quarter lengths from his stablemate Candleford, who was later disqualified for his jockey weighing in too light. True Courage was promoted to second with recent Racing League winner Champagne Piaff put up to fourth.

Haggas told Sky Sports Racing: “He won well. I was really pleased with him. He’s improving fast.

“He did surprise me how far he won by, but he is getting better and is behaving much better. Everything is falling into place. We’ve always liked him, he’s a beautiful mover, a very sound horse and he’s really coming good.

“This was a step up in grade today and he took it with aplomb.

“I think Her Majesty has equalled her best ever season, with lots to come, I hope.”

As for Candleford, Haggas admitted he was to blame for rider Adam Farragher weighing in 5lb light.

“That was trainer error. I unfortunately left the weight cloth on the travelling head lad’s bag instead of putting it on the horse. No wonder the horse ran so well,” said Haggas, who was fined £1,000.

“It was a disaster, I’m mortified. As soon as Adam came out and told me he had weighed in 5lb light, he didn’t have a weight cloth and I knew there was only one person to blame and sadly it had to be me.”

To add to the misery, Farragher was given a three-day ban for careless riding.

A change of tactics paid dividends for Top Secret in the Careys Foundation Supporting The Lighthouse Club Handicap.

Usually held up in his races, William Muir, who trains the four-year-old with Chris Grassick, instructed jockey Nicola Currie to make the running. It worked a treat with the 5-1 shot beating last year’s winner Documenting by half a length.

“Having lunch I said we were going to make the running. It had been difficult the first few runs for us. We had dropped him in in his races. Everything worried him,” said Muir, whose charge had won over course and distance in July.

“That day (at Ascot) I said to Rab (Havlin) make the running. He was held up, but got up and won. The next time he went to Newmarket, Rab dropped him in, they went no pace and he got beat.

“He’s going to get better. He’s a very talented horse and he just got away with the ground.

“This horse took a bit of rebuilding because he had a very bad quarter crack.”

Currie’s success was tempered by a two-day ban (September 18 and 19) for using her whip above the permitted level.

Ryan Moore finished the meeting on a high, taking the last two contests on the card courtesy of Ed Walker’s Popmaster (2-1) and the appropriately-named Mine’s A Double (11-10 favourite), trained by Clive Cox.

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.”

Mujtaba makes favourable impression on Chepstow debut

Mujtaba made a successful racecourse bow for William Haggas in the Download The Casumo App Novice Stakes at Chepstow.

Unraced at two, the Dubawi gelding is out of the Group One-winning South African mare Majmu and he had little trouble in beating the 78-rated Rani Of Jhansi by four and a quarter lengths despite unsurprisingly showing signs of greenness.

Given his size and breeding, connections will be hoping he goes on to much better things in the coming months.

“I liked him in the spring but he had a training accident and had to go to Shadwell for the summer,” said Haggas of the 10-11 favourite.

“They gelded him and since he came back he’s been doing OK, I think he’ll improve quite a bit for that – it might have been a poor race, though.

“That’s the mare’s first winner and they’ve all started with me. The first one wasn’t very good, they are always so big, they’re enormous. I’ve got a Frankel, too, who is enormous and hasn’t come into training yet.

“This one is quite a nice horse I think, hopefully we’ll keep him next year and he’ll do well.

“We’ll stay at a mile next time and I think Jim (Crowley) felt 10 furlongs will be fine in time.”

Russco (right) won again at Chepstow
Russco (right) won again at Chepstow (David Davies/PA)

Crowley went on to double up on Donald McCain’s rapidly-improving sprinter Russco (11-4 favourite) in the Casumo Proud To Support British Racing Handicap.

His winning run began at Wolverhampton in June off a mark of 59 under the trainer’s 5lb-claiming daughter Ella.

Russco enjoyed further success off marks of 63 and 70 and he won again here, this time off 73 and minus McCain’s claim.

Joanna Mason had a winner at Sandown on Sunday and was successful again on Archie Watson’s Miquelon (15-2) in the Casumo Horse Racing And Sports Betting Apprentice Handicap.

Baaeed team set sights on Moulin gold

Baaeed is to get the chance to test his mettle at the highest level in the Prix du Moulin at ParisLongchamp on September 5.

William Haggas’ three-year-old was unraced at two but has quickly made up for lost time.

He won on debut at Leicester in early June, followed up at Newmarket two weeks later before returning to HQ for a Listed race a fortnight after that.

Baaeed faced his stiffest test to date at Goodwood in a Group Three but oozed class, winning by six and a half lengths without coming off the bridle and while he could have gone back to Goodwood for the Celebration Mile, connections have decided he has earned a crack at the best.

“At the moment we are probably going to the Prix du Moulin, that was the latest from the last conversation I had with Sheikha Hissa and William Haggas,” said Shadwell’s racing manager Angus Gold.

“So the number one plan is to go to the Moulin if all is well.

“Obviously before the horse had run it would have been a silly thing to say this is what he would do, but he was a well-bred horse going into it. It just took him a bit of time to come to himself.

“He won well at Leicester and if you’d said to me then he would be racing in a Group One in four races then yes, of course that would be a surprise, but we always thought he was a horse with huge potential.”

Given Baaeed is a brother to Hukum, who ran in a St Leger and is at his best over a mile and a half, Gold did admit to expecting Baaeed to be at his best over further than a mile.

He said: “What probably has surprised me is the speed he’s shown – maybe it’s just class. Before he’d ever ran I’d have thought he was probably going to be a mile-and-a-quarter to mile-and-a-half horse, so to see him doing all this over a mile is hugely encouraging. I guess that just shows class.

“It’s a not problem to have but he’s showing too much speed, if that makes sense.

“He’s a very exciting horse so we’ll see if he can take the next step up.”

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.”

Lilac Road foils Technique in Salisbury feature

Lilac Road lunged late to deny one-time Classic hope Technique victory in a thrilling renewal of the British Stallion Studs EBF Upavon Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury.

Down the field in the Oaks at Epsom in early June, the Martyn Meade-trained Technique had since finished a close second in the Group Three Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle and an honourable fourth in the Group One Nassau Stakes at Goodwood just a fortnight ago.

Dropping down to Listed class in the hands of champion jockey Oisin Murphy, the daughter of Mastercraftsman was the 2-1 favourite to get back on the winning trail, but again had to make do with minor honours.

The market leader travelled strongly for much of the 10-furlong journey and looked likely to prevail after moving to the lead.

But Tom Marquand conjured a late rattle out of the William Haggas-trained Lilac Road (11-2) – making her first appearance since finishing sixth in the Hoppings Stakes – and the judge confirmed she had passed the post a head in front.

Haggas said: “I’m delighted with that. We decided to change tactics and it’s worked out well.

“We’ve been riding her differently at home. She’d been making the running a long time now and we thought she gave up quite quickly at Newcastle last time. We gave her a short break and she’s come back really well.

“That was really pleasing today – a career-best. Tom is riding brilliantly at the moment and gave that filly a lovely ride today.”

Considering future plans for Lilac Road, the Newmarket handler added: “I would think we’ll probably step back up to a Group race. I was just thinking actually where to go, but we’ll find somewhere.

“I think she likes quick-ish ground, so we’ll see.”

Jamie Osborne saddled a 100-1 winner at Salisbury
Jamie Osborne saddled a 100-1 winner at Salisbury (Simon Cooper/PA)

Proceedings got under way with division one of the Byerley Stud British EBF Novice Stakes, which saw 100-1 shot Boafo Boy make a winning debut under Shane Kelly.

Despite his huge odds, the victory came as no great surprise to trainer Jamie Osborne.

He said: “There was a time when I probably paid more attention to the markets than I do at the moment. I suppose if I had been paying attention to the market I would have been tempted to have a few quid on him at that price, just because it was so wrong.

“Oisin Murphy has ridden the horse work a few times and liked him. Oisin was actually quite keen to ride him today, but he had to ride Andrew Balding’s horse (War In Heaven, finished third). If Oisin had been riding, he would have been a 10-1 chance.

“The way I do the two-year-olds, they’re trained to improve for their first run. Our first time out strike-rate is poor and our second time out strike-rate isn’t too bad.

“He’s a nice horse and just because he’s won it doesn’t mean he isn’t going to improve.”

The Marcus Tregoning-trained Ribhi made a big impression in division two of the six-furlong contest.

Making his racecourse introduction in the hands of Jim Crowley, the 20-1 winner quickened up smartly to leave 10-11 favourite Buoyant trailing in his wake.

“He’d been working well. The only reservation I had was how green he’d be,” said Tregoning.

“He’s quite a big, immature horse, but he’s always shown plenty.

“He hasn’t got any big-race entries. You’d be sort of thinking you’d go for another novice or something, we’ll see.”

Haggas has Alenquer and Mohaafeth on Juddmonte International duty

William Haggas is planning a twin assault on the Juddmonte International at York next week, with Mohaafeth set to be joined by stable companion Alenquer.

Mohaafeth has long been considered a likely contender for Wednesday’s 10-furlong showpiece – and while he lost his unbeaten record for the season in the York Stakes over the course and distance last month, he looks set to return to the Knavesmire.

Alenquer has not run over a mile and a quarter since inflicting a narrow defeat on subsequent Derby and King George hero Adayar at Sandown in the spring, since when he has won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and finished third in the Grand Prix de Paris over a mile and a half.

The Adlerflug colt is ante-post favourite for York’s Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes with some bookmakers, but Haggas is favouring a drop in distance on the same afternoon.

“I think he’s more likely to go for the Juddmonte, that’s the idea at the moment,” said the Newmarket handler.

“He’ll be coming back in trip, but you can put a line through his run in France because he never went at all. He got too far back and it was too much (ground to make up).

“We don’t really want to go down the Leger route, so we’re going to go for the shorter races.”

Of Mohaafeth, Haggas said: “I think he’ll go there as well. I haven’t talked to connections, but that’s the way we’d be thinking.”

Mohaafeth is also heading to York
Mohaafeth is also heading to York (David Davies/PA)

The hot favourite for the Juddmonte International is Aidan O’Brien’s St Mark’s Basilica, who has been imperious in winning the French 2000 Guineas, the French Derby and the Coral-Eclipse this season.

Eclipse third and King George runner-up Mishriff is another big gun in contention, and Haggas is under no illusions about the task his two candidates face.

He added: “We’ll need both hands full to take those boys on, but there you go! We’ll see what happens.”