Haggas finally secures his destiny

HE might be an Yorkshireman in exile but William Haggas was quick to acknowledge his White Rose roots after Green Destiny’s John Smith’s Cup triumph.

“I’ve wanted to win this race ever since I started training as I grew up in Skipton,” said Haggas, now based in Newmarket, after the 6-1 chance bounced back to form following a dismal run at Royal Ascot.

Now set to be stepped up in class, Green Destiny was ridden with confidence by 18-year-old Adam Beschizza, who became the sixth consecutive apprentice jockey to win this £150,000 handicap.

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Watched by 40,155 racegoers, the third largest crowd in the York meeting’s 52-year history, the race was over once Green Destiny hit the front and the well-backed Pekan Star faded.

Of the others, the William Buick-ridden Beachfire – Green Destiny’s conqueror at Royal Ascot – never landed a serious blow and finished fourth.

“He picked up very well,” said Haggas, son-in-law to Lester Piggott. “He was supposed to do that at Ascot and we came here not certain he would stay.

“I always thought he wanted soft ground but he obviously doesn’t. He was very well ridden, I must say.”

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The biggest win in the fledgling career of Newmarket-born Beschizza, the 18-year-old has plenty of time to savour his success as he is now banned for five days following two riding bans last month.

Just his 16th winner this season, the claimer has struggled for opportunities despite spending the winter honing his skills and timing in America. “Green Destiny must be very good to pass 20 horses in the straight. With the feel he gave me, it’s possible he’s a Group horse,” he added.

This was a day to remember with a scintillating win by Green Destiny; four winners trained in North Yorkshire and a Royal winner of the John Smith’s Silver Cup for the second successive year as the Queen’s Tactician emulated Free Agent’s victory 12 months ago.

Her Majesty may have been out of luck in the Derby with Carlton House but she has a legitimate contender for next month’s Ebor after the all-the-way win of her colt, who held off the sustained challenge of Mark Johnston’s Royal Ascot winner Fox Hunt.

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Trainer Michael Bell was absent, but his assistant George Scott said: “We probably pulled him out of the Northumberland Plate too early as the ground dried up by the Saturday.

“The Ebor would have to be on the agenda now. He’s grown up a lot this season. Eddie gave him a smashing ride – it is one of the highlights of the season when the boss has a Royal winner.”

Spare a thought for the aforementioned Buick, however. Though he did win the John Smith’s Racing Stakes on Norman Open, he missed a winning July Cup ride at Newmarket on Dream Ahead, the horse that he rode to two Group One successes last year. His loss was Hayley Turner’s gain as she became the first female jockey to win a Group One race outright.

In a fitting touch, one of the first people to congratulate Turner was Alex Greaves, wife of Thirsk trainer Dandy Nicholls and who dead-heated for first place in the 1997 Nunthorpe Stakes at York when her mount Ya Malak could not be separated from Kevin Darley’s Coastal Bluff.