By Ray Hickson
English trainer William Haggas believes he has the right horses in Addeybb and Young Rascal to make an impact in his first foray into Sydney racing.
After a few years of having The Championships on his radar the Haggas duo will be among the first internationals to arrive at Canterbury this weekend, with assistant trainer Harry Eustace in charge, and have two very big Group 1s in their sights.
Addeybb, with form around superstar Magical and the widely travelled Magic Wand, will target the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) while Young Rascal’s aim is the Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m).
“They are both geldings and the lure of prizemoney is obviously a crucial factor,’’ Haggas said.
“Before all these vast increases of prizemoney I had dinner with the Messaras and (John Messara) was so excited and enthusiastic about it I thought we have to give this a go one day if we get the right horses.
“I think these are old enough, and wise enough, and experienced enough to take the travelling and the racing.’’
Both horses are likely to be ridden by Tom Marquand, who will return to Sydney for another carnival cameo, in their lead up races on Golden Slipper Day with Addeybb to run in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and Young Rascal the Group 3 Manion Cup (2400m) – and in their grand finals.
Six-year-old Addeybb, a winner of seven of his 15 starts, hasn’t raced since a close second to the outstanding Magical in the Group 1 Champion Stakes (2012m) at Ascot in October and Haggas hopes he can bring that form to Australia.
“If he can he is going to be a player,’’ he said.
“He's in good shape and he loves a bit of dig in the ground. He put up a good performance when beaten by Magical.
“His best run last year in my opinion was at Ascot, going right handed, when he beat Magic Wand. He was on the top of his game that day and he won comfortably.’’
That race was the Listed Wolferton Stakes (2004m) and of course Magic Wand is familiar to Australian punters with her fourth in the Cox Plate and win in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes last spring.
Addeybb has a 125 Timeform rating which is considered right up to being competitive in the Queen Elizabeth.
Young Rascal is a five-year-old with five wins from 10 starts and Haggas is confident an Australian two miles will be right up his alley.
A first Qipco Champion Stakes for @Ballydoyle as MAGICAL puts in another tough performance 🔮
— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) October 19, 2019
The gelding is a three-time Group 3 winner and contested the Epsom Derby at three, as far as his recent form goes Haggas said to put a line through his last start in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) where he was beaten 12 lengths.
His Timeform rating is 122 but he didn’t reach that level in 2019 despite winning a Listed race at Kempton in November.
“It didn't happen for him in Hong Kong. He missed the break and we were planning to lead, he never got into it,’’ Haggas said.
“The ground was quick and he plugged on when they were all dropping their hands.
“I've been itching to get this horse up in distance, he's not a championships mile and a half horse but he could be a very good horse over two miles.
“I'm banking on the fact he's going to be quite a bit better over two miles and I think he will be.’’
Addeybb is the early TAB favourite at $4.50 for the Ranvet Stakes on March 21 and at $8 in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes; Young Rascal is at $11 in TAB's Sydney Cup market.