With a recent strike rate of around 30%, William Haggas and his team are in red-hot form.
Storm The Stars managed a respectable third in yesterday’s Grand Prix de Paris, whilst at Thirsk the three-year-old filly Scent Of Summer made it seven wins in the last five days for the yard.
Haggas has been based at Somerville Lodge Stables, in Newmarket since 1987. Shaamit’s win in the Epsom Derby of 1996 remains a career highlight, though Dancing Rain added a second classic with victory in the 2011 Oaks. She proved a real star during that summer, going on to take the German Oaks before winning the Qipco British Champions Fillies’ and Mares’ at Ascot.
The trainers association with owner Hamdan Al Maktoum has brought its share of success. Aqlaam was a high class colt who took the Jersey Stakes at three before wins in the Summer Mile Stakes and then the Group 1 Prix du Moulin at Longchamp as a four-year-old.
For the same connections, Mukhadram was arguably the yards most talented inmate. From the age of four, the son of Shamardal was tried at the highest level. Only once out of the first four in group events during the summers of 2013 and 2014, he was victorious in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes; the York Stakes and then finally taking a Group 1 when successful in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.
During that period he’d also come agonisingly close to winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, when chinned on the line by Al Kazeem in an absolute thriller.
So far this summer the famous Al Maktoum silks have been carried to victory by a pair of useful sprinters in Adaay and Muthmir. The former may well have found the ground a little lively last time at Royal Ascot, having previously looked very impressive when winning the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock. His poorest performances have all come at Ascot so fans of the horse should not lose faith.
Muthmir was a little disappointing at Newmarket on Saturday in the Darley July Cup. The stiff finish may well have played against him and it’s possible that a stiff five furlongs or flat track over six will prove ideal. He looks just short of the very best sprinters though his win in the Group 2 Prix Du Gros-Chene at Chantilly in May gives connections hope that another raid over the Channel may prove beneficial.
Haggas is having a particularly good summer with his juveniles. With nine wins from 32 runs the stable clearly have plenty of talented horses to look forward too. Besharah is proving to be a classy young filly. She only just failed to overhaul Illuminate in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket, having run a terrific race in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot in June.
Ajaya could also have an exciting future. He suffered no end of problems at Royal Ascot including a dreadful start when running on late behind Waterloo Bridge in the Norfolk Stakes. He put that run behind him with a stunning win at York over the weekend. This son of Invincible Spirit could be something special and though not short of speed ought to be effective over further.
The yard is certainly worth following over the coming period. The Newmarket trainer is going through a purple patch and has plenty of firepower to maintain this exciting run.