Image: Steve Hart
English training genius William Haggas has a third Queen Elizabeth Stakes firmly in his sights after Dubai Honour annihilated his Group 1 Ranvet Stakes rivals despite being first-up and on unsuitable ground.
The Haggas team had been cautious in the lead-up to Saturday as Dubai Honour’s best form was on rain-affected tracks and the race fell in the midst of a Sydney heatwave.
But Dubai Honour’s ($5.50 unibet) class overcame any misgivings the horse might have had with the firm surface, Ryan Moore camping him off the speed before he let down with a dazzling turn of foot to thunder to a 4-1/2 length win over Montefilia ($4.60).
Mo’Unga ($2.90 fav) was another length away third.
Speaking from England, Haggas said he had been in two-minds whether to run Dubai Honour but was thrilled to see the horse return to his best after he was in and out of form at his most recent northern hemisphere preparation.
“I was very much worried about the track,” Haggas said.
“But they assured me the track was on the five side of a good four and (trainer) Chris Waller told me the track was fantastic, so we decided to gamble and run and that was a great result.
“He had a great year in 2021 but he wasn’t quite himself last year.
“But he had a very, very good winter and I have been really happy with him.”
Dubai Honour’s Ranvet triumph gave Moore, who is widely regarded as the best jockey in the world, his first Group 1 win in the harbour city and served as an ominous signal ahead of the Queen Elizabeth, which Haggas has won twice with Addeybb.
Addeybb captured the Ranvet-Queen Elizabeth Stakes double in 2020 and bookmakers were quick to react to Dubai Honour’s performance, winding him in from $11 to $3.50.
Anamoe remains favourite for the Randwick feature after his gutsy win in the George Ryder Stakes (1500m) 40 minutes later and Moore is predicting the Queen Elizabeth to be a titanic clash.
“Anamoe is an incredible racehorse, he’s got a tremendous record,” Moore said.
“From what I see he only really tends to do enough so you wouldn’t be sure what’s in the tank.
“That will be a different level of opposition. I suppose strictly on form Dubai Honour, it would appear that he will give him a good race.”
David Payne was pleased with Montefilia’s effort to lead home the locals and said she was a chance to back-up in the Tancred Stakes (2400m) next week.
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