TASLEET has already surprised trainer William Haggas once this season by splashing through the mud to win the Duke of York Stakes on the Knavesmire.
Now the four-year-old attempts to spring another surprise by landing the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Royal Ascot’s final day highlight, against proven performers like Henry Candy’s Limato.
A Group One sprint over six furlongs, the Skipton-born trainer has already held the colt in the highest regard after winning at York’s Ebor festival in 2015.
However, Tasleet – owned by Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum – spent much of last season on the sidelines after winning the Greenham Stakes at Chelmsford,
Haggas was convinced heavy ground would not suit his charge on his return to the Knavesmire last month. He also now believes that Tasleet is better off over six furlongs rather than longer trips.
“He’d struggled on soft ground as a two-year-old so if anybody listened to me before he went to York I sadly put them off,” said Haggas.
He had a bad injury which took an age to recover from last year. It was a shame to miss the summer having won the Greenham.
“I’d always tried to avoid it (soft ground), but he looked to relish it at York.
“Whether the cheekpieces had something to do with it, which is very possible, and he’ll have them again, he looked quite a good hand.
“I wouldn’t mind a bit of give, but I think the drop back in trip suited him more.
“He had a bad injury which took an age to recover from last year. It was a shame to miss the summer having won the Greenham.
“He’s a lightly-raced four-year-old and I think there’s more to come.”
The Charlie Hills-trained Magical Memory was a close-up fourth when favourite for last year’s Diamond Jubilee and finished runner-up in the Duke of York on his seasonal reappearance.
With Frankie Dettori sidelined, James Doyle is a more than able deputy. He’s the jockey who replaced the charismatic Italian aboard Big Orange when landing Thursday’s Gold Cup.
Sam Hoskins, racing manager for the owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds, said: “It’s sad Frankie is injured and can’t ride as he knows the horse so well, but James Doyle is a great substitute.
“He ran a cracker in the race last year to be beaten only half a length and we were really happy with his reappearance at York. Hopefully he should get much closer to Tasleet and hopefully that will be good enough to put him right in the mix.”