Haggas hoping My Oberon can lead Finals Day charge
William Haggas feels My Oberon should have enough class to claim top prize on All-Weather Finals Day at Newcastle in the Mile Championships if he is on his best form.
The Newmarket-based trainer heads north on Friday with a trio of hopefuls, headed by the former Group Three winner.
The five-year-old, who returned this season with victory at Southwell before a solid sixth in the Group One Dubai Turf last month, is set to go off favourite against ten rivals at Gosforth Park, with the main danger appearing to come from Roger Varian’s dual Kempton winner La Tihaty.
Reflecting on the Dubai effort, Haggas told Sky Sports Racing: “I was really pleased with him and if he runs like that again he will win but consistency is not his a-game.
“He’s got a draw [stall nine], which I’m pleased about because I was concerned we’d be a little low.
“He only ran 20 days ago and had a really hard race. I’ve done nothing with since so I don’t know if that would’ve affected him or not.”
Unbeaten star Tiber Flow also looks to have leading claims in the 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes (3.10).
The son of Caravaggio, who has won twice at Newcastle already, steps back to six furlongs for the first time since his racecourse debut in December.
“He’s a pretty good horse but is drawn a bit low,” Haggas said. “We think he’s got more to offer and a stiff track like this should suit him.
“He had four general anaesthetics in six weeks as a two-year-old so he shouldn’t really be with us but he’s hard as nails and has done brilliantly.”
Completing Haggas’ hopefuls is four-year-old filly Arousing, who steps back up to seven furlongs after disappointing down in ninth on her last start at Kempton in March.
“She ran very quickly with a penalty and I’d like to put a line through it but maybe she’s not quite as good as I’d hoped she be,” Haggas said.
“She’s in really good form and I’ve always thought this was the race for but John Quinn’s filly [Highfield Princess] will be very hard to beat. If she is anywhere near her a-game, Highfield Princess will win.”
Baaeed ‘all systems go’ for Lockinge; Al Aasy to plot new course
It is set to be another busy season for Haggas after securing a personal best 174 winners in 2021.
His team this year is headlined by unbeaten dual Group One winner Baaeed, who remains on course to reappear in the Lockinge at Newbury next month.
“He’s fine,” Haggas said. “He starts work this week and it’s all systems go for Newbury.”
Fellow Lockinge entry Aldaary would need conditions on the softer side in order to line up at Newbury, with Ascot a more likely starting point.
“We’ve had a very heavy ground Lockinge twice in the last ten or 12 years so if that happened again he’d go there,” Haggas said.
“He’ll probably start in the Paradise Stakes at Ascot and he loves it there.
“He may go for the Leicestershire Stakes [King Richard III Stakes] and go to Leicester the weekend before. Ground is important to him as he’s a much better horse on soft or heavy ground.
“He’ll get an entry in the Queen Anne or something like that.”
Another possible runner at Newbury is Al Aasy. The five-year-old ended last season with two disappointing runs after a gelding operation, including in the Group One Champion Stakes at Ascot, but Haggas is hoping a change of direction might bring back his spark.
“Usually they improve for gelding but we’re not sure about him,” Haggas said. “He’s always been a very attractive horse to watch at home.
“We’re going to try something different and go to Sandown for the Gordon Richards next weekend and take it from there.
“If he needs to go back up to a mile-and-a-half then we’ll go for the Aston Park Stakes [now Al Rayyan Stakes] on Lockinge Day [May 14].”
After making a winning return in the Winter Derby, Alenquer again ran with credit when sixth in Sheema Classic in Dubai last month.
Haggas is now aiming towards a run at the Curragh in May, but that is weather-dependant.
“We’re looking at the Tattersalls Gold Cup in Ireland if it rains,” Haggas said. “The ground was a bit too firm for him in Dubai and he ran a good race.”
Dubai Honour, who finished second in the Champion Stakes, also holds an entry in the Tattersalls Gold Cup but is set to wait for Royal Ascot.
“He’ll wait for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes,” Haggas said. “He ran a good race on Champions Day and he like going right-handed.”
Haggas’ group of three-year-olds this season include exciting Newbury winner Sense Of Duty.
The daughter of Showcasing holds an entry in the 1000 Guineas but Haggas revealed she will stay at six furlongs for the time being.
“She’ll go to Redcar at the end of this month for a novice race and if she wins that nicely she’ll go for the Carnavon Stakes and will get an entry in the Commonwealth Cup,” Haggas explained.
“She’s a homebred and we’re very keen to make her a Stakes winner at some stage.”
Perfect News appears to have blown her shot at the 1000 Guineas after a disappointing reappearance at Newmarket on Tuesday, finishing fourth behind Cachet in the Group Three Nell Gwyn Stakes.
“I was really disappointed with her and cross with myself,” Haggas said. “I thought she’d run really well but was rusty and never picked up.
“It looked like she wanted a mile so she’ll do that next time, probably at York for the Michael Seely Memorial Stakes [May 13].
“I can’t see the point of running her in the Guineas, maybe the French Guineas but the French fillies look quite good this year.”
Haggas did enjoy some success on the opening day of the Craven meeting, however, as Educator – owned by Her Majesty The Queen – won the Bet365 Handicap off a mark of 85.
“He was probably a bit fortunate to win yesterday but I feel we haven’t unlocked his talent at all yet,” Haggas said.
“He’ll probably go up another 3lbs so it’ll be another handicap, possibly the London Gold Cup and then the King George V.”