Seven Days: A Haggas Masterclass

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Alenquer, second right, with the dominant Haggas string in Newmarket | Emma Berry

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It hasn't been a bad week for William Haggas. The Somerville Lodge stable cat has recently gone AWOL for fear that he might be entered up at Catterick and would have to live up to the extraordinarily rich vein of form currently being exhibited by the larger quadrupeds whose fetlocks he rubs up against during evening stables.

Over the last fortnight 41 horses have been sent out by the trainer and 17 of them have returned home with a trophy to add to the cabinet. Most impressively, 10 of those victories have been in stakes races. Taking up where Baaeed (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) and Lilac Road (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) left off the previous this week, the stable's runners over the last seven days have won a Group 1, Group 2 and four Listed races, headed of course by Alenquer (Fr) (Adlerflug {Ger}) trouncing some fairly fancy opposition in the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup and Maljoom (Ire) pilfering the G2 Mehl-Mulhens-Rennen (German 2,000 Guineas) to become the first Classic winner for his sire Caravaggio.

Haggas is also now the sole custodian in Britain and Ireland of horses in training for the Tsui family's Sunderland Holdings. Their five runners to have taken to the track so far this season have posted some impressive results. Last week alone the half-siblings My Prospero (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}) and My Astra (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) each won Listed races–the latter by a whopping 12 lengths at Ayr–and those successes followed the All-Weather Mile Championship win of the eldest of the clan, 5-year-old My Oberon (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}). The latter also won last year's G3 Earl Of Sefton S. before being beaten only a neck when third in the G1 Prix d'Ispahan.

Their dam My Titania (Ire) holds a footnote in racing history as the first black-type winner for her illustrious sire and the Tsuis' pride and joy, Sea The Stars (Ire). He also featured as the sire of another of the Haggas/Sunderland Holdings stakes winners last week, Sea Silk Road (Ire), who was bred by Kildaragh Stud and landed  the Listed Height Of Fashion S.

It will come as a surprise to precisely no-one that Sea The Stars has the makings of a decent broodmare sire, and there has been a flurry of promising activity in this regard of late. He features in this category for the G2 Prix Greffulhe winner Onesto (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), who is bred on the same cross as another from the Haggas stable, the Group 3 winner and G1 Queen Anne S. entrant Mohaafeth (Ire). Saturday's GIII Galorette S. winner Technical Analysis (GB) (Kingman {GB}) is also out of a Sea The Stars mare.

Currently flying up the broodmare sires' table, however, is Darley's Teofilo (GB), whose daughters have now produced three European Classic winners this season. Following the Guineas double in Newmarket of Coroebus (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Cachet (Ire) (Aclaim {Ire}), Maljoom added to the haul in Cologne.

Legendary Riders Remembered

William Haggas would certainly be the first to admit that his wife Maureen plays a key role in the success of their stable. Her father Lester Piggott was sadly not present to see the unveiling of his statue at the Curragh on Saturday, with Maureen's sister Tracy Piggott performing that honour as her father convalesces in hospital in Switzerland. 

She said of the legendary jockey in Sunday's Racing Post, “He's still constantly watching the racing and is getting a big kick out of seeing how my sister Maureen and William Haggas are flying along.”

Piggott, now 86, was at the Curragh for the opening of the new stand three years ago. His likeness in bronze now stands outside the weighing-room looking towards the track at his request. 

Thoughts also turned to Pat Smullen on Sunday, on the day he would have celebrated his 45th birthday. He, too, would have got a kick out of seeing a runaway Classic winner for Eva-Maria Bucher-Haefner and Dermot Weld, whose stable Smullen was retained by for two decades. The trainer and jockey combined in the Irish 1,000 Guineas victory 16 years ago of Nightime (Ire), who became the first of many Classic winners for Galileo (Ire). 

Smullen rode his first British Classic winner, Refuse To Bend (Ire) (Sadler's Wells), in the Moyglare Stud colours and his long association with the Haefner family extended past his retirement from race riding in 2019 as he was appointed as an advisor to their operation. In the 60th anniversary year of Moyglare Stud there could have been no more fitting Irish 1,000 Guineas winner than Homeless Songs (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), and Bucher-Haefner has a further shot at Classic glory as co-owner of the Moyglare-bred Cheshire Oaks winner Thoughts Of June (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who is entered in the Oaks and the Irish Oaks.

Homeless Songs, bred on the same Frankel-Dubawi cross as last year's Derby winner Adayar (Ire), appears to be considered as a miler at most by her trainer, and she certainly exhibited a killer sprint kick in her five-and-a-half-length Guineas romp. Here's hoping she turns up at Royal Ascot to face Cachet and Mangoustine (Fr) (Dark Angel {Ire}) in the Coronation S. Homeless Songs also provided a first proper Clasic success for Chris Hayes, who rode Moyglare Stud's Search For A Song (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in her first of two wins in the G1 Irish St Leger.

Appleby Wears The Crown

Triple Crown winners may not come along too often in this part of the world, but Charlie Appleby has designed a new Triple Crown all of his own in recording the extraordinary feat of winning the 2000 Guineas in Britain, France and Ireland with three different horses. 

For Godolphin, the Dubawi colts Coroebus (Ire) and Modern Games (Ire) would have been extra satisfying, being homebred sons of the operation's outstanding stallion. But of course Godolphin are also in the business of making stallions, and the Haras d'Haspel-bred Native Trail (GB), as a son of Oasis Dream (GB) from an excellent Juddmonte family, would be a worthy addition to any stallion barn. Moreover, it is always good to see the champion 2-year-old continue to be special at three. 

Havana Ball

When TDN visited Karl Burke in Middleham back in January 2018, Havana Grey (GB) was about a month shy of his third birthday but was delighting his trainer ahead of the season in which he would earn his Group 1 stripes in the Flying Five.
“Havana Grey is as hard as nails,” said Burke at the time. “He's a great character and he loves his work. Right from day one all he wanted to do was gallop…he's a real battler with a lot of natural speed.”

The son of Havana Gold (Ire) had by that stage already proved himself to be a hard-knocking 2-year-old, winning four of his eight juvenile starts, including the G3 Molecomb S., and finishing runner-up to his stable-mate Unfortunately (Ire) in the G1 Prix Morny. His early prowess is now being mirrored–and some–by members of his first crop.
Havana Grey, who stands at Whitsbury Manor Stud, has now streaked to the top of the freshman sires' table with 14 winners already to his credit. The most recent came on Sunday for Michael Bell and Middleham Park Racing with Maylandsea (GB), a grandson of Fiona Denniff's increasingly influential broodmare Hill Welcome (GB) (Most Welcome {GB}. He has also been represented by the highest number of runners, with 35 members of his first crop having already taken to the track, giving Havana Grey a strike-rate of 40% at this early stage of the year.
Another freshman off the mark this week was Cracksman (GB), with two winners coming in quick succession, and two of the first-crop sires are responsible for juveniles that have earned a coveted TDN Rising Star this season.
Following the performance of Tajalla (Ire), a son of Tally-Ho Stud's Kessaar (Ire), at Newmarket in April, a gold star went to the 2-year-old who has posted arguably the most impressive win of them all so far this season. Bradsell (GB), by Shadwell's Tasleet, scorched along the Knavesmire on Saturday to win by nine lengths for Archie Watson. Bred by Deborah O'Brien, who has had Bradsell's family for three generations, he was sold for 12,000gns as a yearling and then was brought back to the breeze-up sales by Mark Grant, who sold him for £47,000 to Tom Biggs at Goffs UK. Top hats are surely being readied by his owners, Primavera.

Trading Classics

While William Haggas was plundering a German Classic on Sunday, German trainer Markus Klug popped over to Rome and came home with the Derby Italiano trophy courtesy of Ardakan (GB). It would have been more appropriate for Ardakan to have won the Mehl-Mulhens-Rennen, the race named after the founding family of Gestut Rottgen, near Cologne, where he is trained and was bred, and where his sire Reliable Man (GB) stands.
This colt does not however bear the colours of Rottgen, which has had his family in its possession for a century. Ardakan was sold to Holger Faust on behalf of Darius Racing for €40,000 at the BBAG Yearling Sale and, clearly appreciating the 1m3f of the Italian Classic, he became the second black-type winner for his dam, the Listed winner Alaskakonigin (Ger) (Sternkoenig).
Klug also trains Ardakan's year-older half-sister Alaskasonne (Fr) (Soldier Hollow {GB}), who is already a Listed winner in her homeland and is entered for Tuesday's G2 Prix Corrida at Saint-Cloud. 

Another Star For International Family

The brilliant racemare Stacelita (Fr) (Monsun {Ger}), a Group/Grade 1 winner in both France and America, provided Frankel with his first top-level winner and first Classic winner when their daughter Soul Stirring (Jpn) won the GI Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) in 2017. 

Five years later the same family was back in the spotlight for that same Classic when Stacelita's grand-daughter Stars On Earth (Jpn) took another step forward in her quest for the Fillies' Triple Crown after adding the Yushun Himba to her victory in the GI Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas). As well as both being bred by Shadai Farm, Soul Stirring and Stars On Earth are connected by their jockey, Frenchman Christophe Lemaire. 

Further enhancing the broad international range of the family, Stars On Earth's dam Southern Stars (GB), a daughter of the late Lane's End Farm stallion Smart Strike, was trained in Newmarket for Teruya Yoshida by John Gosden, and won a Sandown maiden.

In the meantime, the Frankel bandwagon has rolled on at pace and he is now the sire of 21 Group/Grade 1 winners in Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Canada and Dubai.

No Squiggle For Sieglinde

When Timeform announced in October 2020 that its Racehorses annuals would no longer be published, outgoing publishing editor Geoff Greetham said, “When the history of the pandemic comes to be written, the demise of the Timeform annuals will merit no more than a footnote, but to the band of loyal readers and to the generations of writers and photographers who have worked on 'racing's bible' this will undoubtedly be a low point. Nothing lasts forever but the Timeform annuals have stood the test of time for longer than most and will still remain as a permanent written history of the sport.”

Indeed they will, and the annuals which date back to 1948 and are collectors' items, are already sorely missed.

Stepping into the breach, however, is Irish pedigree analyst and writer Dr Sieglinde McGee, who has recently published Best Racehorses of 2021. This is her second annual, containing essays, pedigree notes and breeding details of 220 of the top horses in Europe as well as a review of the season. It is a not only a true labour of love but also an incredibly valuable addition to the libraries of racing and breeding buffs. Copies can be ordered via Amazon. 

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