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Haatem hangs tough to edge Jersey thriller

3 minute read

Richard Hannon’s Haatem gained a well-deserved success when battling on gamely to claim the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

HAATEM winning the Craven Stakes at Newmarket in England.
HAATEM winning the Craven Stakes at Newmarket in England. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The Richard Hannon -trained three-year-old made a winning reappearance in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket prior to finishing third in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May. The son of Phoenix Of Spain found only stablemate and recent St James's Palace Stakes winner Rosallion too good in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh three weeks later but got his deserved day in the sun when striking back over seven furlongs on the final day of the royal meeting.

Carrying the colours of Wathnan Racing for the first time following their recent purchase, Haatem struck the front in the hands of James Doyle and looked set to go on to a comfortable victory.

However, Harry Charlton's Kikkuli had other ideas and the half-brother to Frankel ensured backers of Richard Hannon's 7/2 shot would have a nervy wait on their hands after flashing home to force a photo finish.

A short pause would follow before the judge confirmed Haatem had clung on to land the spoils by a diminishing short-head.

Johnny Murtagh's Chicago Critic defied his starting price odds of 80/1 by running a superb race back in third, while the 13/8 market leader River Tiber failed to pick up and finished back in eighth for trainer Aidan O'Brien and jockey Ryan Moore.

"He's deserved this. It's a Group 3, but it's not, it's Royal Ascot," said Hannon.

"He carried a penalty, he got there very easy, and he deserved his day in the sun. Hopefully, he'll have plenty more. It was a very deep race, there were 20 runners, and it was not your normal Jersey.

"It's great for Wathnan, they bought a lot of horses, and it was so important they had success and they've earned it.

On future plans for the winner, Hannon added: "There are so many options for him, we'll travel a bit, there's a lot of races for him in Australia, France and America, but he'll go back over a mile, it was a bit of a risk going back down to seven.

"In fairness, both James Doyle and Jamie Spencer who have ridden him recently said he'd have no problem dropping down to seven and they were right.

Paddy Power trimmed Haatem to 7/1 (from 10s) for the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, but Hannon appears reluctant to take on stablemate Rosallion, who the same firm has as their even-money favourite for the Group 1 prize, again.

"I don't think there's any need for him to take on Rosallion again. I wouldn't enjoy watching that. I didn't mind watching the Irish Guineas back afterwards, but it was not enjoyable at the time.

"He's a horse that deserves everything he gets. He cost just £27,000, and that says a lot about our sport, a lot of it good. He's here taking part with a penalty at the top level. It shows it's possible, which you can't say about many sports."

Racing and Sports

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