‘Haggas Handful’ Hamish Wins L’Ormarins King’s Plate Glorious Stakes

He won't run in the Ebor

Hamish bagged his ninth career success for William Haggas in the 12-furlong Gr3 L’Ormarins King’s Plate Glorious Stakes at Goodwood on Friday.

Sent off a 5/6 favourite to follow up his G3 Silver Cup Stakes win at York, Hamish was ridden patiently by Tom Marquand, who appeared confident that he had the field covered entering the final two furlongs.

Once switched to the inside, Hamish powered home to score by an emphatic four lengths. The Paul & Oliver Cole-trained Jack Darcy outran his 18/1 to take second, with the winner’s stablemate Candleford (15/2) a length and a quarter further back in third.

Tom Marquand returns on the handful Hamish (Pic-Goodwood Racecourse)

Haggas said: “I rang my father [Brian, owner/breeder of Hamish] before the race and said the horse has been an absolute nightmare to saddle. Poor Maureen [Haggas] has been jumped on about eight times and has blood coming out the top of her head because the horse struck her, but she adores him and does everything with him. I can take no credit for this – all the credit and praise should go to her.

“My father is a very proud Yorkshireman and I said the horse is being a bloody nightmare today, and when he’s like this he never runs his best, and he said ‘I think he likes the North’.

“I didn’t think this was a strong race for the grade and he was always travelling well. Tom [Marquand] said after the race this was the best the horse has felt this year. He scrambled home a bit at York last time and, while he likes a bit of cut in the ground, he likes it wet. He won and poor Candleford, who was cantering, got lost in the ground – it’s too tacky for him. He wants top of the ground. Candleford ran a good race, but Hamish was better.

“Hamish won’t run in the Ebor. He is hard to place and, while people said I should have run him in the King George [& Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot], I couldn’t do that on drying ground. You can run in a race like this on drying ground, but the King George is a different thing. My father quickly pointed out Hamish has only run against one of this year’s King George horses, and that was Hukum [who won] and he beat him. He was lambasting me for not running.

“The Irish St Leger is a possibility, but he wants soft ground. We have been lucky this summer – ha, ha, what summer? – that we’ve had some soft ground. Hamish has run twice in a fortnight, while last year we couldn’t get anything out of him at all.”

Haggas confirmed Desert Hero, winner of yesterday’s John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes, could carry Their Majesties The King & Queen’s colours in the St Leger and added: “Desert Hero in the Voltigeur, but doesn’t need to run there, so all being well he will go straight to the Leger. I think we ought to try it because there’s plenty of stamina on the dam’s side and he’s by Sea The Stars, a very versatile stallion. He has a chance of getting the trip. Gregory will be hard to beat but we will give it a go.”

Marquand said: “Today I felt it was a bit of a technical challenge for him because you have the canter down and a different experience, but from out the gate he just felt happy straight away. There was never a moment when it didn’t feel like I could slide in and do what we wanted.

“He doesn’t normally stretch away – he usually just gets the job done and that’s as much as you can get him to do. Today I turned the screw half a notch and he was away and gone in pretty dominant fashion.

“Maureen [Haggas] rides him every day and if she doesn’t Andrew Tinkler does. Having that every day routine is big for a horse. He’s had his problems, but they have managed him so beautifully and so carefully that it pays back in spades. He’s such a fun horse and he’s owned by William’s father Brian so it all adds to the story and makes him such a special horse to everyone at Somerville Lodge and the Haggas family.

“There wasn’t a lot of pace on. I went down to post early, but then watched a couple of runners steaming down to the start and thought ‘lovely, this will be tailor-made for us’, but we ended up going slowly. As ever on tracks like this it’s about finding rhythm and getting horses into their comfort zone. it worked out beautifully.

“The Irish St Leger sounds good to me. Last year I couldn’t ride him when he was second under Richard [Kingscote], but I wouldn’t mind having a spin on him in that race this year. He is likely to get his ground and he has shown he can handle the trip. Last year he ran one of the most dominant stayers [Kyprios] all the way to the line, or within five strides of the line, so it seems like the right target.”

Oliver Cole said of Jack Darcy: “He has run very well. Obviously, the winner is a Group One horse and, on any other day, you would win that race. I think Jack Darcy will go for a 12-furlong Listed race at Windsor and, if he wins that, then he will go for the Melbourne Cup. He is a very good horse, and we haven’t had him right up until now. He has taken us on a hell of a ride.”

Neil Callan added: “I won on Jack Darcy last year and I thought, ‘he’s going to be a nice horse – potentially a Melbourne Cup horse’, but he kind of lost his way a little. I have not ridden him for a few runs but, getting back on him, I noticed that he has been a bit free in his races. I was intent on just letting him bowl along and do his own thing in front. He enjoyed that and ran a solid race.”

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