Phoenix Of Spain's Haatem by a Whisker in the Jersey

Haatem (left) | Racingfotos.com

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Wathnan Racing's dual Classic-placed acquisition Haatem (Ire) (Phoenix Of Spain {Ire}–Hard Walnut {Ire}, by Cape Cross {Ire}) went postward for Saturday's G3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot lumbered with a three-pound Group 3 penalty and defied that impost in game fashion to register a narrow victory in the seven-furlong test.

Haatem was swiftly into stride and settled into a comfortable rhythm slipstreaming fellow Wathnan contender Native American (Ire) (Sioux Nation) in a prominent fourth from the outset. Tanking forward on the bridle to lead approaching the quarter-mile pole, the 7-2 second favourite came under pressure as threats loomed with 1 1/2 furlongs remaining and was driven out to bravely hold the late surge of Frankel's half-brother Kikkuli (GB) (Kingman {GB}) by a short-head. Johnny Murtagh trainee and 80-1 outsider Chicago Critic (GB) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) recorded a career best of his own and finished one length adrift in third.

Formerly owned by Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah, Haatem was battle-hardened by a nine-race juvenile campaign which yielded a win in Goodwood's G2 Vintage Stakes. He also chased home City Of Troy (Justify) in the G2 Superlative Stakes and G1 Dewhurst Stakes and opened this year with a daylight score in Newmarket's Apr. 18 G3 Craven Stakes. He has since found a new nemesis, in the form of Rosallion (Ire) (Blue Point {Ire}), and was one place adrift of that stablemate when hitting the board in the G1 2000 Guineas and G1 Irish 2000 Guineas.

“I have never known a horse get such a following from the general public with emails, Instagram messages and the like,” revealed trainer Richard Hannon. “Haatem is a pleasure to have around and I would love to think we will have an association for a few years to come. He deserved his day in the sun and hopefully there will be many more. He carried a three-pound penalty today, he got to the front very easy and I'm just delighted for the horse. It's a Group 3, but I think this Jersey was an awful lot more than it normally is. He has credit for a lot more than that and I'm sure a Group 1 is coming very soon.

“There are some very good races for him in Australia, America and France, but we'll take him home first. I just don't think there is any need for him to take on Rosallion, it's not a race I would enjoy watching and it seems a little unfair. Haatem is a horse that deserves everything he gets. He cost just £27,000, and that says a lot about our sport, a lot of it good. He's here taking part with a penalty at the top level. It shows it's possible, which you can't say about many sports.”

 

 

It was nip and tuck inside the final 100 yards, with Kikkuli a nostril in front just strides from the line, but Haatem found the necessary stretch under a powerful James Doyle drive to inch ahead where it mattered. “I had no idea if we'd won, I had my head down,” the rider admitted. “Oisin [Murphy aboard Kikkuli] asked me if I'd got back up, so that kind of showed me that he had an idea. Haatem's an absolute warrior, it wasn't his ideal set-up today, but we've come up with a plan and it worked. If he had got beat, he would have been robbed because he responded well. Oisin quite smartly challenged away from me and he did spot him late on and he responded well. What a horse. Jamie Spencer told me that he quickened really smartly in Ireland, so I wasn't surprised by the way he picked up. We were trying to put a square peg in a round hole today and, because he's such a versatile horse, it worked.”

Reflecting on Kukkuli's oh-so-near miss, trainer Harry Charlton said, “Oisin said it was a bit of a head up, head down. He rode him to follow Haatem and Oisin said he's run great. It is a shame to be second twice, but we won't take anything away from the horse and we are delighted with him. He has run great against a hardened Group 1 horse who's had a lot more experience than him. It's a proper race, there are a lot of 110-plus [rated] horses and he's run outstandingly. He travelled probably the best of them, he enjoyed the pace and the quick ground. He's from an exuberant family, but this lad is absolutely bombproof.”

Chicago Critic's trainer Johnny Murtagh was overjoyed with the performance of the 80-1 outsider and said, “We are absolutely delighted, that was fantastic. We came over because we thought we had a nice horse on our hands, but it was a very deep race. Ben [Coen] gave him a great ride. We got excited there for a couple of seconds and we thought he was coming, but he just couldn't get there. No fault of the horse, he ran brilliantly. Today was the plan and, now we know we have a horse of this level, we will think about what's next. He'll stay at seven [furlongs] or a mile and I think he'll get a mile no problem.”

Pedigree Notes

Haatem is the fifth of six foals and one of three scorers out of a dual-winning half-sister to G3 Premio Carlo Vittadini and G3 Premio del Giubileo runner-up Father Frost (Ire) (Rip Van Winkle {Ire}) and Listed Prix Pelleas, Listed Doncaster Mile and Listed Foundation Stakes placegetter Born To Be Alive (Ire) (Born To Sea {Ire}). His second dam Yaria (Ire) (Danehill), herself a daughter of G1 Phoenix Stakes runner-up Yara (Ire) (Sri Pekan), is a winning sibling of dual stakes scorer Emirates Gold (Ire) (Royal Applause {GB}), Listed Prix Melisande victrix Yarastar (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}) and the stakes-placed Yario (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}). Haatem, half-brother to a yearling filly by Inns Of Court (Ire), hails from the family of Group 1-winning sires Homme De Loi (Ire) (Law Society) and Mister Majestic (Ire) (Tumble Wind).

Saturday, Ascot, Britain
JERSEY S.-G3, £150,000, Ascot, 6-22, 3yo, 7fT, 1:26.85, g/f.
1–HAATEM (IRE), 132, c, 3, by Phoenix Of Spain (Ire)
     1st Dam: Hard Walnut (Ire), by Cape Cross (Ire)
     2nd Dam: Yaria (Ire), by Danehill
     3rd Dam: Yara (Ire), by Sri Pekan
(€28,000 RNA Wlg '21 GOFNO1; 27,000gns Ylg '22 TATOCT). O-Wathnan Racing; B-Hyde Park Stud (IRE); T-Richard Hannon; J-James Doyle. £85,065. Lifetime Record: G1SP-Eng & Ire, 13-4-2-3, $541,694. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Kikkuli (GB), 129, c, 3, Kingman (GB)–Kind (Ire), by Danehill. 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE. O-Juddmonte; B-Juddmonte Farms Ltd (GB); T-Harry & Charlton. £32,250.
3–Chicago Critic (GB), 129, g, 3, Night Of Thunder (Ire)–Criticism (GB), by Machiavellian. 1ST BLACK TYPE; 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE. O-Sam Mencoff & Tony Smurfit; B-Forenaghts Stud (GB); T-Johnny Murtagh. £16,140.
Margins: SHD, 1, 1. Odds: 3.50, 14.00, 80.00.
Also Ran: Mountain Bear (Ire), Zoum Zoum (GB), Never So Brave (Ire), Task Force (GB), River Tiber (Ire), Boiling Point (Ire), Pearls And Rubies, Indian Run (Ire), Ziggy's Dream (Ire), Son (GB), Eben Shaddad, Native American (Ire), Kortez Bay (Ire), Dark Tornado (Ire), El Bodon (Ire), Night Raider (Ire). Scratched: Take Me To Church (Ire).

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