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Article 4th November 2023 Newmarket

By Graham Clark

Maureen Haggas knows better than most just what a tricky character Hamish can be, however she described the talented gelding as a ‘real star’ after securing the seventh Group race success of his career in the re-arranged Betfred St Simon Stakes at Newmarket this afternoon.  

The William Haggas-trained son of Motivator came in for plenty of praise after continuing what has been arguably the greatest season of his career at the age of seven when making it four wins from as many outings this season in the Group Three contest, which was re-routed from Newbury last Saturday.   

Sent off the 5-4 Favourite, Hamish, who has been ridden out on a regular basis by Maureen since he was a three-year-old, demonstrated what a solid yard stick he is when revelling in the testing conditions much to the delight of his supporters.   

Cruising powerfully into contention alongside King Of Conquest the multiple Group race scorer, who was homebred by the trainer’s father Brian, showed his appetite for a battle when the chips were down entering the closing stages of the mile and a half test.  

Despite being burdened with a three pounds penalty it failed to stop Hamish from galloping on with great endeavour to defeat the hat-trick seeking Al Qareem by a length and three quarters to form the middle leg of a near 259-1 treble on the card for the triumphant Newmarket handler. 

Maureen Haggas said: “He has had a good year, and he has been great. It is never easy when you have a horse that needs that slow ground. He has had his problems so we have to look after him and I think he has lasted this long because we look after him.

“He was very naughty at Goodwood, and he can be quite difficult, but we saddled him in the stables and it has all gone like clockwork so I’m relieved.

“He got really naughty as a three-year-old and he wouldn’t go anywhere so I started riding him and I’ve ridden him ever since.

“I ride him every day and I know him back to front, but he hates Newbury so I wasn’t too displeased with the race not being down there and being here instead. He is just very argumentative, and you could spend all day arguing with him.

“As long as he goes out, does his work every day, and comes back I just try and leave him alone, but he has always been like that. I suppose that is the Montjeu in him. He was a bit heavy today as it is that time of year where you don’t want to overdo them.

“Usually at this time of the year he looks like a hat rack, but he is fat, but he has gone and done it. I love him to bits, but he barely tolerates me. 

"He is a great horse and I’m thrilled for William’s father (Brian) who bred him. He is just a real star. It is nice when you have had them for so long as he is like a pet.”

While Classic winning-handler Haggas will take the plaudits for the victory connections felt that a big part of the victory was down to the presence of the stable hack Cape Classic, who is known in the yard as Chunky.  

Maureen Haggas added; “I wasn’t actually that enamoured with the thought of coming here today but we brought Chunky the pony (Cape Classic) with him and he has been brilliant.

“Chunky has been the hack for quite a few years now, but Hamish, for some reason, loves him. I don’t know why but every morning he sees him he attaches himself to him. 

“I thought we would give it a try bringing him (Chunky) with him and it has worked. We have now got options with him as we can maybe take Chunky with us and he might behave himself better.”

Despite Hamish turning eight at the turn of the year he is expected to be seen back on a racetrack in 2024.  

She concluded: “I hope we see him back next year. As long as he stays in one piece he has got nothing else to do except be a racehorse, then he is going to have to be my hack, so I think he would rather be a racehorse for a while.”

The Reverend (9-2) and Cieren Fallon got the ball rolling for Haggas with a length and three quarters victory in division two of the Betfred “Double Delight” British EBF Novice Stakes, before Laafi (20-1) completed his treble, and gave Fallon a second winner on the card, when landing the Betfred “Hat Trick Heaven” Handicap by two and three quarter lengths.


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