Seven Days

Seven Days: Half-Mast

The flag at Somerville Lodge in Newmarket is at half-mast. For the inhabitants of that famous stable it is of course a deeply personal gesture as Maureen Haggas and her family mourn the death of her father Lester Piggott. Over the decades they will have become accustomed to the fact that the head of their family was also a racing icon--a man not just whose name is the first jockey a random member of the public can call to mind, but for many longstanding fans of racing the man who...

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Seven Days: A Haggas Masterclass

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...

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Seven Days: Abundance

Can we have too much of a good thing? When it comes to racing in the spring the answer is almost certainly not, but the rapidity with which all the decent action takes place can make it difficult to take it all in. For example, in the last 11 days we have had three Derby favourites. First the horse who had held that honour all winter, Luxembourg (Ire) (Camelot {GB}), who was then replaced by his stable-mate Stone Age (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), all the rage after his Derby Trial victory...

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Seven Days: Sharing The Joy

The first Classics of the year are in the book: four in total, in Britain and Italy. Charlie Appleby sends out major winners with such metronomic regularity that it is easy to forget that there was a time when the Godolphin blue silks were a scarcity in Classic fields.  Having gone so close in last year's 2000 Guineas with Master Of The Seas (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), who was narrowly denied by the Jim Bolger-trained Poetic Flare (Ire) (Dawn Approach {Ire}), Appleby left nothing to chance this year when aiming both...

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Seven Days: Bringing Out The Big Guns

A few weeks ago the bookmaker Fitzdares made Dubawi (Ire) favourite to be champion sire this year for the first time, and perhaps no horse deserves it more than Darley's utterly dependable 20-year-old. However, the race to the top will not be easy, particularly judging by the apparent strength in depth of the challenge of Frankel's offspring for this year's major races. Though the reigning champion, as well as the Gosden stable and owner-breeders Cheveley Park Stud, were dealt a blow by the withdrawal of Inspiral (GB) from Sunday's QIPCO...

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Seven Days: Advance Appleby Fair

As statements of intent go, the results for Charlie Appleby's stable over recent weeks speak loudly as to his determination to retain the trainers' championship in 2022. Twenty-three runners have emerged from Moulton Paddocks in the last fortnight, and 13 of them have returned home as winners, most importantly Native Trail (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}), the champion 2-year-old in Europe last year whose triumph return in the G3 Craven S. got the season off on a proper footing. Of that baker's dozen, four were by the trainer's reliable old friend...

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Seven Days: On The Classic Trail

It wouldn't be Craven week without a brisk wind blasting across Newmarket Heath, but for those of you considering spending afternoons paddock-side perusing the physical merits of some of this year's Classic contenders, the encouraging news is that the temperature is rising in East Anglia this week, along with the quality of action on the turf. France and Ireland are ahead of Britain on the Classic trials front, and there is plenty to reflect upon in that regard, but a brief look ahead to the Newmarket and Newbury trials this...

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Seven Days: The Price Of Progress

Even at this early stage of the season, we can be forgiven for mentally fast-forwarding to the first weekend of June at Epsom. It is after all the best weekend of the year, featuring the best race of the year.  There are plans afoot in Newmarket - plans being mooted by the Jockey Club, no less - to dig up one of the best turf gallops on the Heath to install a new all-weather racecourse and training facility. At a time when there's concern as to having enough horses to...

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