William Haggas hits double top at Leicester

In-form Newmarket handler warming up nicely for Derby day

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Those taking notice of the rare appearance made by William Haggas at Leicester were well rewarded after the Newmarket handler claimed a double – highlighted by the victory of Cavatina in the feature race

The Classic-winning trainer, who saddles Young Rascal in the Investec Derby on Saturday, was handed the perfect start to his first visit to the track in more than a year after daughter of Lethal Force claimed the Coronation Fillies’ Handicap under by a length and three-quarters.

Haggas said: “It’s not far from home but I don’t come very often. The last time I was here was a year or so ago.

“We are busy at the moment so I thought I would come today and leave my wife Maureen to go to Nottingham (on Wednesday).

Of the 3-1 winner, he added: “She ran rubbish first time out and was too fresh. She was much better last time out at York and she ran a good race.

“There are no real plans but possibly the seven-furlong fillies’ handicap at the July Meeting at Newmarket could be an option as Mr and Mrs Thompson (of owners Cheveley Park Stud) like having runners there. She is getting better.”

Fanaar put his previous experience to good use to complete Haggas’ brace and a double for winning rider Jim Crowley.

The 11-10 favourite pulled out plenty to take the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes by a length and a quarter.

Haggas said: “He made hard work of that and whether that was a good race, I don’t know.

“I did run a horse in the race a few years ago called Ertijaal and he got beat, but he got beat by Toormore!”

When a juvenile makes a winning start at this time of year thoughts immediately turn to Royal Ascot.

And Secret Venture (7-2) could now head to the big meeting next month after he won the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes by a nose.

Following the race, the winner was introduced at 33-1 for the Norfolk Stakes by Paddy Power.

Trainer Kevin Ryan said: “He is a horse we have thought a lot of from day one. He always had a bit of class and he was always going to improve for a run as he quite a heavy horse.

“Most of mine improve with a run and if they win first time out it’s a good sign of their ability.

“That (Royal Ascot) is something to be decided, but it’s not ruled in or out.”

George Baker celebrated his first domestic Flat winner of 2018 after Infanta Isabella left her previous form behind to initiate Crowley’s brace with a two-length victory in the Forest Handicap.

The Chiddingfold handler said: “That’s the first Flat winner, but we’ve had a bumper winner and a couple of winners in France. They’ve been running all right without looking completely on fire.

“Hopefully the season starts in June for me and I’m going to be Sir Mark Prescott-esque about it!

Baker added of the 14-1 winner: “She has been a filly we’ve liked but has taken plenty of time.

“Luckily, they are a very patient bunch of owners that have given us time.

“Last time was a bit of a disaster in France as she was far too keen. Jim (Crowley) gave her a great ride. Hopefully she will go on from this.”

William Haggas hits double top at Leicester
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