16 May 2024

Economics adds up for Haggas in brilliant Dante success

16 May 2024

Economics swept his rivals aside to record a brilliant victory in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York.

Winner of a mile maiden at Newbury last month, William Haggas’ twice-raced chestnut son of Night Of Thunder was always well placed under Tom Marquand in the extended 10-furlong feature.

Still moving with menace when asked to mount a challenge in the home straight, he was able to pull clear of the field and lengthened his stride to cross the line six lengths ahead of 7-4 favourite Ancient Wisdom.

Economics does not hold an entry for the Derby, for which the Dante is a key trial, and Haggas has previously stated he does not intend to add him to the mix as a supplementary entry.

Speaking from his Newmarket base in the wake of the stunning Knavesmire performance, Haggas said: “The whole point of taking him out (of the Derby) was I didn’t think it was the right track and the right race for him at this stage of his career. He’s a great big, immature horse. And I stick by that.

“I haven’t spoken on the subject to Sheikh Isa and his advisers so that might change.

“We discussed it at length when we talked about the Derby. Winning the Derby is of course everyone’s dream, we all want to win it, but it takes a type. Maybe we’re wrong and maybe after I’ve talked to His Highness he’ll say I’d like him to run in the Derby, in which case we’ll run him. But we’ll see.”

He's also by Night Of Thunder so although he looked like he'll stay an extra furlong and a half, it's not a certainty

He went on: “He’s also by Night Of Thunder so although he looked like he’ll stay an extra furlong and a half, it’s not a certainty.

“It’s a win and you’re in for the Irish Derby so that could be an option for him if we wanted to go a mile and a half.”

Marquand said: “To be honest I couldn’t really believe it, I just thought he had so much to learn after Newbury. That was a mile and obviously going up on trip was always going to help.

“I popped him on the back of William (Buick, Ancient Wisdom) and he had Ryan (Moore, on Cambridge) keeping him in a bit of a pocket and that was an advantage to him as he was conserving energy and he was the one to keep an eye on.

“I went to follow Ryan and to be honest I lit his fuse to make sure I stayed on the same line and he was electric, I lit his fuse and he did it a hell of a lot faster than I anticipated and I had to take a bit of a tug to make sure I didn’t hit the front too soon – which I still managed to do.

“I think he’s a very talented horse, he’s still learning on the job as he just had a wander when he hit the front, but he’s exciting for the future.”

Haggas was represented on course by his wife and assistant, Maureen, who said of the 6-1 winner: “William has always liked him and he is a talented horse. He’s beautiful, but still a baby. We’ll see about the Derby, it’s not my department.

“I’m not sure he’ll stay a mile and a half, I think the more he races the more switched on he’ll become and 10 furlongs will be his best trip.

“I thought he looked a bit all over he place in the final furlong, he’s a big horse and this is just his third race. You’ve got to be switched on to go around there. It’s a big ask for any horse. He’s an inexperienced, big baby.

“The Derby is the one we all want to win, we’ve been lucky enough to win it once, but it was that long ago I’ve almost forgotten what it was like. We’d love to win it again, but we have a very nice horse and there are a lot of other nice races to win and we need to make sure he stays a nice horse and that has to be the priority.

“We took him out because we didn’t think he’d stay and I’m still not sure he would.”

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