Rivet: won his maiden, at the second time of asking, in easy fashion
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Mark Scully 12:00pM 3 OCT 2016
ON A misty morning trainer William Haggas has a spring in his step as he prepares to watch his Dubai Dewhurst Stakes hopeful Rivet work up the world-famous Warren Hill gallop.
Haggas’ cheer comes as no surprise, with his Somerville Lodge yard having sent out a remarkable 37 winners during September, by far the veteran trainer’s most successful calendar month.
“We had 105 runners in the month and that’s a lot for us. We have about 480 a year,” said Haggas. “Two Saturdays ago, for example, we had runners at four different meetings, so it’s taken a lot of organisation.”
There is no time to dwell on that though with Group 1 goals occupying the mind this week. Emerging from the mist is the Group 2 Champagne Stakes hero Rivet, led up Warren Hill by his Group 3-winning stablemate Tasleet.
Rivet is a general 8-1 chance to follow up his Doncaster success with victory on the Rowley Mile and Haggas admitted the son of Fastnet Rock has not always been a stand-out prospect during his brief career to date.
“He’s always been a very fluent mover and he has a good temperament, so he certainly has a chance of being good,” he said.
“I’ve had the last five or six out of this mare and he is the most precocious. He did show more speed than the others early on, which is why he got an entry in a nice race, but I wouldn’t have necessarily had him marked out as this sort of horse from early on.”
‘He has a bit to find’
Rivet’s work satisfactorily completed, Haggas tuns his attention to the task at hand on Saturday and is realistic about his charge’s prospects.
“I thought he was laboured in the Champagne but everyone convinces me otherwise,” said Haggas. “I think the ground was a bit loose for him and we think the second [Godolphin’s Thunder Snow] is obviously quite useful.
“Andrea felt he had the run of the race on the rail but he has a bit to find to win a Dewhurst on that run.”
Churchill in the way
Aside from his own ability, Rivet will also have to contend with the Aidan O’Brien-trained Churchill, already a Group 1 winner and the 4-7 favourite as a result.
Churchill will be looking to give his trainer a third win in the last four renewals and while Haggas is aware of the size of the task, one factor is giving him some cause for optimism.
“We ran into Churchill in the National Stakes [with third-placed Lockheed] and he was very impressive,” said Haggas.
“I’m hopeful though because all his form is on ground slower than it’s likely to be on Saturday. I’m not saying he won’t go on fast ground, I’m sure he could, but if it was soft it would be against us and favour him, I think.”