Racing News

Champions Day: Addeybb goes one better than last year for joyous Haggas and triumphant Marquand

Addeybb put in a performance befitting of the occasion to finally land his first Group 1 in Britain with a frighteningly-good performance to take the £750,000 Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes.

Having come up three-quarters of a length short behind Magical in the same race last year, Addeybb emphatically turned the tables with a champion’s performance under regular partner Tom Marquand. 

Twice a winner at the highest level in Australia in the spring, the six-year-old’s domestic campaign had been laid out with a testing-ground Champion Stakes as the end destination and, with the mud squelching around Swinley Bottom, Addeybb was at his imperious best to defeat French raider Skalleti by two and a quarter lengths with last year’s heroine Magical a further half length away in third.

Victory brought winning trainer William Haggas to the brink of his emotions and capped a fabulous day for the Marquand household after the winning rider’s partner Hollie Doyle scored two wins on the card including a breakthrough at the highest level with Glen Shiel.

“Addeybb has been absolutely fantastic,” said Haggas, who has nurtured the winner to new heights this season. “Since he won the Wolferton last year and we put the cheekpieces on, he has just been so consistent.

“He was really on it today. He looked fantastic beforehand but he was grumpy and difficult to saddle, which is a good sign for him. He has got such a marvellous nature and this is tailor-made for him. We all know that he loves this ground.”

There had been a timely reminder of Addeybb’s significant exploits in Australia earlier in the day, when the mare he beat in both the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Ranvet Stakes, Verry Elleegant, took the Caulfield Cup from last year’s Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck.   

Yet as impressive as Addeybb’s domination on the other side of the world has been, it was a Group 1 in Britain that Haggas really craved for the hero of the hour. 

“They were smart performances in Australia but he had never won a Group 1 in England,” said the trainer. “He had been second a few times, so that for us is the great joy – we’ve finally won a championship race with such a good horse.

“I said after six-year-old One Master won the Foret for a third time that, if you can keep them happy, sound and not abuse them when they are young, they will reward you when they are older. This is exactly what he has done.”

While Addeybb has been a central figure in the success of Haggas’s impressive Somerville Lodge yard in recent seasons, he is undoubtedly the horse who has lifted Marquand to stardom and the affable winning rider was full of praise for his partner. 

“He’s been the most special horse,” said Marquand. “How can you dream of a better horse? He goes to Australia and wins two Group 1s and comes back here and shows his dominance. It’s brilliant.

“He’s elevated me to heights I thought I might never reach, never mind so quick in my career. So many opportunities have come because of him.”  

The 22-year-old said a table for two with Doyle had already been booked in advance and no doubt there will be a glass or two of champagne to celebrate, especially after he matched his partner’s exploits when adding a second winner on the day when Njord triumphed for trainer Jessica Harrington in the Balmoral Handicap. 

“We’re in the fortunate position that things are going so well but, come on, this is ridiculous,” said Marquand. “Coming to Champions Day and Hollie having two winners and then Addeybb and Njord go and win – it’s genuinely a fairytale.

“I’m incredibly proud of Hollie. All she does is get up and graft everyday. I genuinely mean it, no one deserves the success more because it’s all done through hard graft and a good mentality. We’re both so lucky to be on this wave of success at the moment.”

History maker Doyle lands first Group 1 in thrilling Champions Sprint Stakes

Hollie Doyle described her Group 1 breakthrough as “a dream come true” after Glen Shiel gamely denied Brando to win the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes by a nose.

Doyle had already sparked British Champions Day into life when becoming the first female jockey to win at the prestigious meeting, partnering Trueshan to annihilate the Long Distance Cup field, but her win in the Sprint, a first in Group 1 company, was a landmark moment as she joined Alex Greaves and Hayley Turner as the only women to have won a race at the highest level on the Flat in Britain.

It was also a first Group 1 for Glen Shiel’s trainer Archie Watson after the six-year-old, a sprinter who raced over ten furlongs in his earlier days, went one better than his second in last month’s Sprint Cup at Haydock.

A stunned Doyle said: “I’m a bit in shock at the moment. It’s a dream come true really, my aim at the start of the year was to ride a Group winner and I’ve always said I want to win a Group 1 one day – I didn’t think it would come this year.”

It was the latest watershed occasion in Doyle’s meteoric rise as a jockey, with the 24-year-old breaking her own record for most winners in a calendar year by a female rider in Britain on Wednesday at Kempton.

But the quantity is now being matched by quality, with Glen Shiel Doyle’s sixth Group winner of the season. It has been a campaign littered with standout days, from a first Royal Ascot winner to Group success at Newmarket’s July festival and a historic 899-1 five-timer at Windsor in August.

She said: “I don’t get too carried away with it, I’m probably a bit delusional with what’s going on at the moment. It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind but it’s been a great few years.”

Doyle had a small but agonising wait for the result to be finalised, with 80-1 shot Brando thrusting late with One Master, Art Power and Oxted not far behind, but eventually the winning margin of a nose to Kevin Ryan’s admirable eight-year-old was confirmed.

Doyle added: “It was too close for comfort really. I thought I hadn’t won, so to have had the result we have was incredible. Me and Oxted had a good old battle from the three-pole and I thought that I would be doing well to hold on like I did but he is such a game horse. He’s incredible.

“He has got quicker with age. When we first got him, he was running over ten furlongs in France and didn’t show a whole lot of speed but the further we dropped him back, the quicker he got.”

Glen Shiel’s extra stamina proved to be beneficial, as he made a quick start under Doyle and was there to be shot at throughout. July Cup winner Oxted and Glen Shiel’s Haydock conqueror Dream Of Dreams loomed up menacingly with two furlongs to go, but their challenge faded as Glen Shiel pulled out more and then some to hold off the very late charge of Brando and One Master.

Doyle added: “Silvestre de Sousa [on Art Power] left me alone early on and I got to dictate, which doesn’t often happen in Group 1s.

“I thought the only way I could get Dream Of Dreams beat was to stay seven furlongs, to get first run on him in this ground. I kicked him in the belly at the three-pole and we had a hard old battle [with the rest].”

More Ascot glory for King as Trueshan and Doyle waltz to Long Distance Cup win

Alan King’s love affair with Ascot continued as the trainer best known for his success over jumps added his latest big-race victory on the Flat at the royal racecourse thanks to Trueshan’s devastating performance under Hollie Doyle in the Group 2 Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.

On ground better associated with winter racing over jumps, Trueshan went through the ground like a “tractor” according to Doyle, giving King another sizeable win on the Flat after a Royal Ascot treble with Scarlet Dragon, Coeur De Lion and Who Dares Wins.

King opted to stay at his Barbury Castle base in Wiltshire, where the dogs were given quite a fright as he roared home Trueshan on the television.

“It’s unbelievable,” said King. “Obviously we’d hope he would run well but we weren’t expecting something like that. You couldn’t expect that, but obviously the step up in trip suited him and we know he does handle that ground.

“It was all over at the two pole and I think we scared the dogs in the house!”

King has made a conscious effort to expand his Flat team in recent years with the intention that the majority can one day progress to the jumps, but Trueshan has ended any possibility of a novice hurdle campaign with this emphatic seven-and-a-half-length success over dual Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song.

“Most of my Flat youngsters are bought to go over jumps, but if they’re too good, they’re too good and it’s certainly not a problem,” added the trainer.     

“Win or lose it was always going to be his last run of the season. We’ll put him away for the winter now and look forward to next summer and the Cup races. It’s been a terrific season on the Flat and really exciting. It’s great for the whole team.”

Victory was the catalyst for a watershed afternoon for the winning rider, who was amazed how far clear she went on the winner.    

“I have to pinch myself really, that was absolutely amazing,” said Doyle, who has made more than one appearance on the BBC this week as her profile continues to go stratospheric.

“He was almost over-travelling with me, I had to stay out a bit wide for the first three furlongs and luckily I managed to slot in and get a nice position upsides Stradivarius. The further I was going, the better, and he was tanking with me – he went through the ground like a tractor, he loved it.”

While Trueshan made light of what were clearly testing conditions on the round course, star stayer Stradivarius never travelled with his usual zest for Frankie Dettori and had nothing more to give turning for home, being heavily eased in the straight.

Champion trainer John Gosden said: “It was too deep and too heavy. He hated it and Frankie thought he pulled his shoes off. He was in good form but the ground was very deep down there and it would have probably been better running on the inner track.”

‘A magnificent performance’ – The Revenant upsets Palace Pier to take QEII

Francis-Henri Graffard’s patient approach with The Revenant was handsomely rewarded when the French raider upset odds-on shot Palace Pier to win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Second in the race behind King Of Change last year, The Revenant only returned to action on Arc weekend when a comfortable winner of the Prix Daniel Wildenstein, but Graffard revealed before the QEII his absence was not due to anything untoward, merely a ploy to save him for the soft conditions he evidently thrives in. It certainly worked a treat.

Pierre-Charles Boudot had the five-year-old, previously trained by Hugo Palmer, prominent throughout and he picked up with Palace Pier to chase leader Roseman. Entering the final furlong Palace Pier wilted – a lost front shoe was possibly a contributing factor – and Boudot edged The Revenant over to eyeball Roseman, getting the better of the Roger Varian-trained longtime leader to win by a head.

Graffard, who was not at Ascot, said: “It was a magnificent performance, the horse was brilliant. It went exactly as we had planned with him settled in behind Circus Maximus and close to the pace. He picked up really well and ran all the way to the line while Pierre-Charles gave him a great ride as always.

“This has been the plan ever since he was second in the QEII last year and everything was geared around coming back.

“I had him ready to run in the spring but when lockdown came I decided to send him out to grass and he had a good spell.

“I had to wait until the Daniel Wildenstein for his comeback and he was only 80 per cent fit for that race. I was a little bit stressed that I had to work him quite hard in the run up but everything was building to today. It all worked out because he is a very good horse with a lot of heart.”

For The Revenant’s rider Boudot it was a first Champions Day success after going close with One Master in the sprint earlier on the card.

Boudot said: “Today I was very confident with his trainer and the horse did it well on the track.

“He loved the ground and the trip has been perfect behind Circus Maximus. My horse was very relaxed behind him and when I asked him, he gave me a nice and long turn of foot. He has been courageous on the last furlong.”

It was a significant step forward for runner-up Roseman, who had hinted he was up to Group 1 level when fourth in the Queen Anne Stakes at the royal meeting, but things did not go to plan for Palace Pier, who arrived at the start with a small amount of blood in his mouth.

He was passed fit to run by a vet and travelled into the race alongside the eventual winner, but he could not continue through with his challenge and faded into third, although the lost front shoe likely did not help.

His rider Frankie Dettori said: “You can’t go a mile with just one leg, you have to use both and I tried to get him to change. It was very unlike him. Obviously you can’t win a race with three wheels, you need all four.”

Menuisier toasts first British Group 1 as Wonderful Tonight bags Fillies & Mares

Wonderful Tonight completed a rare Group 1 double, progressing from a top-level win at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting just two weeks earlier to run away with the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

Trainer David Menuisier said he had not yet fully recovered from the celebrations after the Prix de Royallieu at Longchamp two Saturdays ago, but there was no sign of any hangover for Wonderful Tonight, who tanked to the front over three furlongs out and was not for passing from that point under William Buick.

Frenchman Menuisier and winning owner Chris Wright had toyed with supplementing the winner for the Arc and all roads will now lead to the big one in Paris next October. 

“We know that she is very good,” said Menuisier. “The only question mark was whether she had recuperated from the Arc weekend or not. I hadn’t but I am glad she did!

“She’s top-class all round. She is easy to train and as tough as anything that is tough. She is getting better and better, and there is still some improvement to come. She is still a tad keen early on, so once she really knows how to settle I think she can go up a notch again.”

Pulborough-based Menuisier has started to establish his name among the leading trainers in Britain in recent years with the likes of Danceteria, Thundering Blue and Chief Ironside putting him on the big-race map around the globe.  

 “You never know, especially with fillies, whether they are going to train on or not, but we wanted to keep her as a four-year-old to target the Arc next year,” he said.

“We nearly ran her in the Arc this year – I think she would have run a stormer – but she wasn’t a Group 1 winner yet. Now she is, so the sky’s the limit. I feel so lucky and blessed. We bought her at the sales as a yearling for next to nothing and she’s winning her second Group 1 in two weeks.”

Hollie Doyle was denied yet more Group 1 success on runner-up Dame Malliot, who ran a screamer for trainer Ed Vaughan in his last season training in Britain.

On this occasion it was Buick in the Group 1 spotlight and the winning rider backed up Menuisier’s high opinion of the winner.  

“She has a lot of class and the will to win to go with it,” said Buick. “When conditions are there to suit her, I can’t see why she shouldn’t scale further heights.”