HAATEM DEFIES PENALTY TO WIN GR.3 JERSEY STAKES IN THRILLING FINISH

Haatem, Wathnan Racing’s dual Classic-placed acquisition went postward for the Gr.3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot with a three-pound penalty and defied that  in game fashion to register  victory in the seven-furlong test.

Haatem was swiftly into stride and settled into a comfortable rhythm from the outset. Tanking forward on the bridle to lead approaching the quarter-mile pole, the 7-2 second favourite came under pressure but was driven out to bravely hold the late surge of Frankel’s half-brother Kikkuli.

Formerly owned by Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah, Haatem ran nine times as a juvenile, which yielded a win in Goodwood’s Gr.2 Vintage Stakes. He also chased home City Of Troy  in the Gr.2 Superlative Stakes and Gr.1 Dewhurst Stakes and opened this year with an impressive win in Gr.3 Craven Stakes. He was one place adrift of stablemate Rosallion in the Gr.1 2,000 Guineas and Irish 2,000 Guineas.

“I have never known a horse get such a following from the general public with emails, Instagram messages, and the like,” revealed trainer Richard Hannon. “Haatem is a pleasure to have around, and I would love to think we will have an association for a few years to come. He deserved his day in the sun, and hopefully, there will be many more. He carried a three-pound penalty today, he got to the front very easily, and I’m just delighted for the horse. It’s a Group 3, but I think this Jersey was an awful lot more than it normally is. He has credit for a lot more than that, and I’m sure a Group 1 is coming very soon.

“There are some very good races for him in Australia, America, and France, but we’ll take him home first. I just don’t think there is any need for him to take on Rosallion; it’s not a race I would enjoy watching, and it seems a little unfair. Haatem is a horse that deserves everything he gets. He cost just £27,000, and that says a lot about our sport, a lot of it good. He’s here taking part with a penalty at the top level. It shows it’s possible, which you can’t say about many sports.”

It was nip and tuck inside the final 100 yards, with Kikkuli, but Haatem found the necessary stretch under a powerful James Doyle drive to inch ahead where it mattered. “Haatem’s an absolute warrior; it wasn’t his ideal set-up today, but we’ve come up with a plan, and it worked.”

 

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