23 May 2024

Sweet William and Havlin on the mark in Henry II Stakes

23 May 2024

Robert Havlin highlighted why he is a jockey in demand when partnering Sweet William to victory in the Chasemore Farm Henry II Stakes at Sandown.

Having claimed Group One glory on board Audience in the Lockinge last weekend, the veteran jockey remained in the spotlight after being booked to ride Ambiente Friendly in the Derby.

He was at his best when cajoling the John and Thady Gosden-trained Sweet William (5-2) into this two-mile Group Three contest late on before getting the better of a battle with Caius Chorister.

Ryan Moore set out to make the running on Metier, with Trueshan and Chesspiece also taking up a prominent position.

The order stayed much the same until the home straight when Trueshan moved on, but Caius Chorister and Sweet William were travelling noticeably better in behind.

That pair went on to pull clear over the final furlong, but it was Sweet William who just came out on top by a head.

Sweet William was cut to 16-1 from 33-1 with Coral for the Ascot Gold Cup and is 14-1 with Betfair and Paddy Power for that two-and-a-half-mile marathon.

Havlin said: “He didn’t really travel for most of the race, but the further we went, the more he came on the bridle.

“We put a visor on him today just to switch things up and it was a reversal with Caius Chorister from last time, when she pounced on me.

“I was able to keep an eye on everything in the race from where I was.

“He’s a hard horse to get there late, because he’s not really got that much of a turn of foot, so I don’t know how much he’s actually had in the tank there but he’s very talented and he got the job done.

“I think the further he goes, the better he goes. He’s untested beyond two miles but for me, I definitely think he’ll get two and a half miles.”

Referencing the Derby, in which he replaces Callum Shepherd on Lingfield winner Ambiente Friendly, the 50-year-old Scotsman said: “It was like getting six numbers on the lottery, it came out of the blue.

“I’ve got sympathy for Callum. At the end of the day I’m not listening to anything that’s been said, I’m not reading anything about it because I don’t want it to distract me.

“I was (riding him out in Newmarket), I did two canters, I’ll do the same tomorrow morning. He felt good.”

We're going to the Gold Cup and that's that, we've got to have a go!

Meanwhile, the Cauis Chorister team are looking forward to a rematch in the Gold Cup.

“She ran a really good race, she nearly won – she didn’t, but it doesn’t matter,” said trainer David Menuisier.

“It’s a prep race for bigger things down the line. To me she’s better on quicker ground than this sort of ground, especially at this level because it really tests her stamina.

“I am delighted, she really belongs here. People were doubting her which they are allowed to, I think she put them straight this time around.”

Owner Clive Washbourn added: “It’s mindboggling, I love this horse. We’re going to the Gold Cup and that’s that, we’ve got to have a go!

“She doesn’t like this ground so that was a really gusty performance from her. Good to firm is better for her. I can’t moan, as you know I bred her. She’s amazing.

“What a week I’ve had, I bred the winner of the 2000 Guineas in Germany (Devil’s Point). But I love this mare.”

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