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Haatem heading straight back up in trip after Jersey success

Haatem heading straight back up in trip after Jersey success
Haatem heading straight back up in trip after Jersey success

Jersey Stakes scorer Haatem will return to racing over a mile – and possibly further – after it was a case of job done over shorter at Royal Ascot.

The Craven Stakes winner placed in both the 2000 Guineas and the Irish equivalent earlier in the season, but as one of the feature acquisitions of Wathnan Racing’s pre-Ascot recruitment drive, a plan was hatched to drop Richard Hannon’s likeable colt back to seven furlongs at the Royal meeting.

Despite a red-hot cast lying in wait for the Group Three event, the son of Phoenix Of Spain proved up to the task, showing both his guts and class to see off Kikkuli by a short head and cap a fine week for his Qatar-based owners.

“I haven’t overly compared them but it felt like the best Jersey for a number of years, with the biggest field for a number of years, and that wasn’t really what I was planning,” said Wathnan racing adviser Richard Brown when reflecting on Haatem’s success.

“I was thinking he would be a 116-rated horse with a 3lb penalty in a race he could probably deal with quite easily.

“It looked like the Coolmore team were pretty sweet on River Tiber, that’s what the market showed and I was pretty nervous. I was relieved it paid off and he is such a complete warrior and faultless in every way.

“He battled when the other horse came to him and luckily it was the first photo to go our way. We were delighted we won because there was a lot of pressure on that one.”

Haatem and James Doyle after winning the Jersey Stakes
Haatem and James Doyle after winning the Jersey Stakes (John Walton/PA)

Haatem is now set to return to the distance that saw him perform so admirably in Classic company earlier in the season and although keen to avoid a third clash of the year with St James’s Palace Stakes-winning stablemate Rosallion, a return to the highest level is on the cards.

“He will go back up to a mile almost certainly and I think we will explore further in time,” continued Brown.

“I think we will try to avoid Rosallion but all options are open at this stage. I would imagine he will go back up to Group One company and races like the Sussex and Jacques le Marois will come into play.”

Although Haatem is departing the seven-furlong scene almost quicker than he entered it, Wathnan have a ready-made replacement to fill the void in impressive Buckingham Palace Stakes scorer English Oak.

English Oak and connections after winning at Royal Ascot
English Oak and connections after winning at Royal Ascot (PA)

A member of Wathnan’s quartet of winners at the Royal fixture, Ed Walker’s progressive four-year-old is poised to step out of handicap company for a shot at the World Pool Lennox Stakes at Goodwood on July 30.

“I was delighted with him at Ascot and we’ve kind of always followed this horse,” said Brown.

“It was a performance that will take him out of handicaps now and into stakes company and let’s see if he can hold his own.

“I think the Lennox looks a very obvious option and when you have won with that impressive manner over seven furlongs, it seems silly to change.

“We’ve kept him in the July Cup and we will keep an eye on it, but I certainly think it’s most likely the Lennox is going to be choice one.”

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