Haggas Has Royal Ascot Aim For The King And Queen's Desert Hero

Desert Hero | Megan Ridgwell

William Haggas is charting a path back towards Royal Ascot with Desert Hero (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) and nominated the G2 Hardwicke S. as the main objective for the King and Queen's colt before a possible tilt at races in Australia in the autumn.

Winner of the King George V S. last term, Desert Hero went on to claim Group 3 honours in the Gordon S. at Goodwood before finishing third to Continuous (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) in the G1 St Leger.

Haggas had suggested that an Australian campaign could be on the cards for Desert Crown after the St Leger, however, it would appear that those plans have been put on the back burner for the time being at least.

Speaking to RadioTAB Australia, Haggas said, “We decided definitely that His Majesty's horse will not be coming to Sydney in the autumn. We may well come down at the backend of the year in your [Australian] spring, but I just felt he needed a bit more time and they [his owners] concurred.”

When asked if the Melbourne Cup would be a likely destination, Haggas replied, “Possibly or possibly something in Sydney, we'll see. We are going to concentrate on going to Royal Ascot for the Hardwicke S., which will be his first major target.

“He's done very well this winter. He will benefit from all the time he can get. It's 'do we press the button now or wait a bit' and we plumped for the second option, we're going to wait a bit.

“He's pretty useful, he got better and better last year and we think he's done better again this winter, so I am very pleased with him.”

Haggas will be represented in the big Australian races once again by Dubai Honour (Ire) (Pride Of Dubai {Aus}), who won both the G1 Ranvet S. and the G1 Queen Elizabeth S. last year before finishing a fine third to Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) in the G1 QEII Cup in Hong Kong.

“He'll go into quarantine on February 15. We're looking at the same two races as last year,” he commented. “I probably shouldn't have run him in the Eclipse, as he'd been on the go for a while, but there were only four runners and I thought he ran well for a long way in the Champion S.

“To be honest, his whole summer was based around getting him in top shape to come to you [Australia] in February/March. He will be the same horse he was, I hope.

“I'd like him to come back for two years. If all goes well this year and he runs competitively, then basically it will be all the same again.”

Two more could travel with Dubai Honour, as Post Impressionist (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}), winner of the Old Borough Cup, and Mujtaba (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), last seen finishing second in the Huxley S. in May, are both pencilled in.

“Post Impressionist will run in the Sydney Cup, he's been bought by Lloyd Williams. He's in really good shape,” said Haggas.

“Mujtaba might well go. I'm really pleased with his condition. He'll either go Ranvet or Tancred and then hopefully Queen Elizabeth.

“He's never won a stakes race, in his only start last year he was second in a Group 2 and then got colic. He's a good age, he's six but has only run nine times in his life.”

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