Haggas, Eustace Enjoying Aussie Boost

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Addeybb takes the G1 Ranvet S. | Bronwen Healy

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The temporary suspension of racing in Britain has been a blow but two British-trained runners flew the flag high on the other side of the world when William Haggas’s stable enjoyed a group-race double at Rosehill in Sydney in the early hours of Saturday.

He may have had only a few hours’ sleep but Haggas was all smiles on Newmarket Heath later that morning after Young Rascal (Fr) (Intello {Ger}) won the G3 Iron Jack NE Manion Cup followed by a hard-fought victory for yard favourite Addeybb (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) in the G1 Ranvet S. Both horses were ridden by fellow Brit Tom Marquand, whose star has been very much on the rise in Australia over the winter and who celebrated his first Group 1 victory along with Addeybb.

“I went to bed at about 10.30 and got up at 2am so I haven’t had much sleep and if they’d both run sixth it wouldn’t have been such a good night,” said Haggas after casting his eye over his second lot returning from exercise on Newmarket’s Warren Hill.

“Tom said the ground was too dry for Addeybb but he’s a very genuine horse and he just wanted to win. They both got headed and they bought fought back, which was great. Everyone needs a bit of a lift and we’re temporarily flying the flag for British racing.”

Now six, Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum’s Addeybb is relatively lightly raced and he first rose to prominence at this time two years ago when cruising to success in the Lincoln H. on the opening day of the turf season before winning the G2 bet365 Mile. Finding his favoured soft ground at a wet Royal Ascot last season, he added the listed Wolferton S. to his CV, followed by the G3 Rose of Lancaster S. and an honourable second to the brilliant mare Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the G1 QIPCO Champion S. on his last start prior to Saturday.

Haggas continued, “The great thing is that Addeybb is now a Group 1 winner and he deserves it. He hasn’t run much. He’s only run 16 times but he’s won eight and any horse that does that at any level is a good horse. When he gets conditions in his favour he’s a proper horse.”

Paying tribute to Marquand, he added, “They were both very well ridden. They both got headed and they both fought back, which is a tribute to Tom’s skill and also to the boys down there—they obviously have them in great condition. It’s great for us—it keeps the show on the road and it puts the trainer in a better mood than he has been in for the last few days.”

Haggas’s mood will be improved further still if racing is allowed to continue behind closed doors in Australia, with his horses’ main targets looming during The Championships at Randwick.

He said, “Their principal races are in three weeks’ time—the Sydney Cup and the Queen Elizabeth II if they go ahead. After the way they’ve run today they’ve both got chances, especially if it rains.”

Haggas wasn’t the only Newmarket trainer to be buoyed by the success of Young Rascal and Addeybb. James Eustace’s son Harry is assistant trainer to Haggas and is overseeing the horses in Australia, where 24 hours earlier Harry’s brother David, who trains in partnership with Ciaron Maher, celebrated another Group 1 win for Loving Gaby (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}) in the William Reid S. at Moonee Valley.

“We are unbelievably proud parents,” said Eustace, who, with wife Gay, is based at the historic Park Lode Stables in the heart of Newmarket. “I actually watched Loving Gaby on the Heath at the bottom of Warren Hill on Friday morning and Jimmy Horton, Ryan Moore, Ted Durcan and Louis Steward came by to get on some horses and I said to Jimmy ‘They’ve just won a Group 1’. Ryan Moore knew straight away who I was talking about and said ‘Loving Gaby, what happened to Bivouac?’

“Not that my opinion is anything at all but she’s some mare. For a sprinter she seems very consistent and she’s a lovely big mare with a terrific record at Moonee Valley.”

He continued, “And then of course in the early hours of this morning we couldn’t believe it when Young Rascal won. That was absolutely fantastic and you couldn’t believe it would happen again, but it did, which was great. Both the boys and their friends over there have been very good and sent us photographs so we sort of felt we were there. What an absolutely amazing 24 hours.”

There’s mixed feelings among the trainers’ ranks in Britain with regard to the timing of the cessation of racing and Eustace believes the BHA should have allowed the sport to continue for a little longer.

He said, “I think the one very good reason why we should have persevered and tried to keep racing going behind closed doors is the effect it can have on morale. I know not everyone is a racing fan but I think it’s very telling that in the Second World War the reason they kept racing going was for that reason, to give troops on leave and everybody else some entertainment. But there we are, I’m not taking a potshot at anybody and I quite understand the factor of freeing up trained medical people but I just wish we had tried for a little bit longer.”

He added, “These are very uncertain times and it’s nice to know that Harry and David are in Australia together. It gave me a real boost watching those races this morning. Who knows whether they will still be racing by the time The Championships come around but [Addeybb and Young Rascal] both ran very good trials and it’s an incredible achievement by William.”

 

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