WILLIAM Haggas is “savouring the moment” after Addeybb won his latest battle with great Australian rival Verry Elleegant to take the Group One Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes for the second successive year at Randwick.
The Yorkshire-born trainer’s Qipco Champion Stakes hero was taking revenge on Verry Elleegant, who had beaten him into second on his return in last month’s Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill.
Addeybb got the better of the mare in their two tussles in both races last year, before heading back to Britain and winning the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October.
He was equipped with blinkers for the first time, in place of cheekpieces, at Randwick where the rain Haggas was hoping for did not arrive.
Slightly slow out of the stalls, Tom Marquand soon moved Addeybb into a more prominent position where his mount could repel Verry Elleegant’s late challenge to win by half a length.
The Queen Elizabeth win had even more poignancy as Haggas is one of Her Majesty’s trainers and the success came just hours before Prince Philip’s funeral.
Back at his Newmarket base, Haggas was full of praise for both the four-time Group One winner and Marquand whose wins on Addeybb a year ago have been the laucnhpad for his career.
“It was a great victory - I’m delighted, thrilled,” he said. “I’ll savour the moment. I’ve trained a lot of losers in my life – so I’ve learned you should celebrate the victories when they come, and we’re going to do that now.”
Haggas stressed credit is due to Marquand not just for his riding but his suggestion that blinkers would help seven-year-old Addeybb at this stage of his career.
“He didn’t jump again today– but Tom got him in a good position after three furlongs,” he said. “The horse fought hard, and he was extremely well ridden. The blinkers were totally Tom’s call, and he got it right.”
Haggas will not be making any definite plans about Addeybb’s schedule until he is settled back in Britain.
Last year, he was second in Royal Ascot’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes little more than two months after the Queen Elizabeth.
A return to Australia may be the eventual priority. “It would be nice to go back a third time to Australia, this time next year,” added Haggas. “We’ve just got to box clever and think of a programme – of all the mile-and-a-quarter races for him. But let’s see how he is when he gets back – that’s the most important thing.”
An emotional Marquand described Addeybb as a “monster” when he is at his best. “Genuinely it’s the closest I’ve been to tears for a very, very, very long time,” he said before flying back to Britain.
“He’s a monster when he’s in his element. He is the epitome of English racehorses. He dogs it out, toughs it out – and today he was just exceptional.”
Meanwhile Andrew Balding’s Alcohol Free booked her Qipco 1000 Guineas ticket as she narrowly came out on top from Statement in a tight finish to the Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Newbury under Oisin Murphy.
There was a close finish to the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr when the Tom Scudamore-ridden Mighty Thunder, trained in Scotland by Lucinda Russell, got up on the line to deny Dingo Dollar and Ryan Mania.
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