English trainer William Haggas targets Sydney autumn carnival with quartet
English maestro William Haggas has confirmed he will send four horses to Sydney for the autumn carnival – and the trainer will be here to watch them race during the championships at Royal Randwick.
Haggas said his talented horse quartet of Dubai Honour, Purplepay, Earl Of Tyrone and Protagonist will go into quarantine next week before heading to Sydney later in the month.
Dubai Honor is targeting the Group 1 $5 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 8, a race Haggas won in back-to-back years with Addeybb in 2020 and 2021.
FALL CARNIVAL OFFER: UNLOCK EVERYTHING ON RACENET FOR $1
The global pandemic prevented Haggas from being trackside for Addeybb’s victories, but the champion English trainer plans to travel to Sydney this autumn.
“I’m really hoping to come down this year,” Haggas told News Corp from his stable base in Newmarket, England.
English trainer Willian Haggas enjoyed Group 1 success in Australia with Addeybb winning back-to-back Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2020 and 2021. Photo: Getty Images
“Obviously it was disappointing not to be able to travel to Sydney with Addeybb. I would have liked to have been there but it wasn’t possible.
“I want to make the trip this year. If all goes well in the first part of their (Sydney autumn) campaigns, I will be there for the second part (The Championships).”
Haggas, who trained English champion Baaeed to win 10 of his 11 starts, including six at Group 1 level to be named the world’s best turf horse last year, said Dubai Honour, Purplepay, Earl Of Tyrone and Protagonist will go into quarantine on February 9th and will arrive in Sydney on February 25th.
There is also speculation that Irish trainers Aidan and Joseph O’Brien, Godolphin and some Japanese trainers are considering sending horses to Sydney for the autumn carnival.
The international raiders will be housed at the Australian Turf Club’s training and quarantine facility at Canterbury Racecourse, meaning the inner-west track cannot hold a race meeting through the autumn carnival.
Canterbury hosts its final night meeting of the season on February 24 and the next race meeting there is not scheduled until April 19.
An elegant multiple Group 2 winner in Europe, Dubai Honor is at $15 in early TAB fixed odds betting for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes behind Godolphin superstar Anamoe at $4.50.
Addeybb really showed them who was boss in the 2020 Queen Elizabeth Stakes! ???? pic.twitter.com/xXuTUROgu3
— SKY Racing (@SkyRacingAU) April 6, 2022
Although Dubai Honor was winless in 2022, Haggas insists the five-year-old gelding by Australian commuter Pride Of Dubai will be competitive at weight-for-age at the Sydney autumn carnival.
“Dubai Honor is a good horse, but he just wasn’t right last year,” revealed Haggas.
“We had a very dry summer in England and I never had him quite where I wanted him.
“But he’s better this time up. He’s a bit like Addeybb, he’s a very effective horse on wet ground. It’s been so wet in Sydney for the last three years I wonder if it’s just not going to rain this year .”
Haggas said Dubai Honor was likely to follow the same program he used so successfully with Addeybb – a Sydney debut in the Group 1 $1m Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 18 and then straight to the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Addeybb defeated Verry Elleegant in the Ranvet Stakes in 2020, but the champion mare reversed the placings in 2021.
Haggas certainly knows the right horses to bring to Sydney for the autumn carnival, as the trainer has also won the Group 3 $200,000 Manion Cup (2000m) in consecutive years with Young Rascal (2020) and Favorite Moon (2021).
But Young Rascal and Favorite Moon both ran unplaced in the Group 1 $2m Sydney Cup (3200m), so Haggas is rethinking preparations for Earl Of Tyrone and Protagonist through the Randwick Two Mile on 8 April.
Purplepay (centre) will be fielded for the Group 1 Coolmore Classic and Queen of the Turf Stakes during the Autumn Carnival. Photo: Getty Images
“We made a mess of the Sydney Cup the two times we tried,” Haggas said.
“Young Rascal and Favorite Moon ran in the Manion Cup, but that’s clearly not the route to go.
“Earl Of Tyrone may go to the Tancred Stakes then the Sydney Cup or he may go straight to the Sydney Cup.
“Protagonist is going to start in the Sky High Stakes, then we’ll see where we are with him.”
Haggas will be represented by his first runners for the autumn carnival at the Rosehill Gardens meeting on March 11 with Purplepay set for the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m).
“We are going to go the ‘fillers’ route with Purplepay,” said Haggas.
“She will compete in the Coolmore Classic, then she will compete (in the Queen of the Turf Stakes) at Randwick.”
Haggas also took a particular interest in the Chris Waller-trained Chalk Stream’s win in the Listed Australia Day Cup at Warwick Farm last week.
Chalk Stream is owned by King Charles III and gave the royal family their first Australian stakes winner.
Haggas leads eight horses for King Charles, including the promising Desert Hero who he hopes to develop into an Epsom (English) Derby contender in June.
“Desert Hero will be aiming for the Derby trial,” Haggas said.
“He is improving physically and is at Sea The Stars, so we have a chance.”