In-form William Haggas hopes to cap an extraordinary few weeks in the winner’s enclosure by landing the Dewhurst Stakes at the Dubai Future Champions Festival on Saturday.
More than £2 million in prize money is on offer over the two days and the Dewhurst Stakes is regarded as the highlight of the festival, which begins tomorrow.
It is one race that has eluded the Somerville Lodge handler, whose hopes will be carried by the Lester Piggott-owned Rivet in the £500,000 race on the Rowley Mile.
Ex-jockey Piggott, who won the race a record ten times in his career, owns Rivet in partnership with John Magnier and Michael Tabor, of Coolmore Stud, and the colt’s South African breeder, Des Scott.
Haggas, who saddled a remarkable 37 winners in September, said: “The Dubai Dewhurst is a Championship Group 1 race, the most prestigious two-year-old race in England and, possibly, Europe.
“Rivet has always been a very fluent mover, so he would appreciate dry ground. He’s a very relaxed chap.
“He looked laboured when he won the Champagne Stakes but the ground was a bit loose and he and the runner-up, Thunder Snow, pulled a long way clear in a short space of time. Andrea (Atzeni) felt that Thunder Snow got the run of the race and he said that he took a long time to pull Rivet up – he was only just getting going at the end of the seven furlongs.
“I see Rivet as a miler of the future. Although his dam is by Galileo, I have trained most of her progeny and none have really stayed that well. Rivet is the most precocious member of the family by some way.”
Tomorrow features four Group races with top billing going to the £500,000 Dubai Fillies’ Mile, Europe’s joint most valuable Group 1 two-year-old race.
Charlie Appleby has Grecian Light, Kazimiera and Sobetsu entered in the big race.
Sobetsu is unraced but Grecian Light finished second in the Group 3 German-Thoroughbred.com Sweet Solera Stakes on the Adnams July Course in August, while Kazimiera won her solitary start in maiden company.
Appleby said: “Kazimiera won very nicely at Ascot and has a beautiful pedigree as a granddaughter of the Guineas winner, Kazzia.
“Grecian Light ran a lovely race in the Sweet Solera considering that she was caught out on a wing away from her main rivals before finishing strongly.”
Saturday will also see the 178th renewal of the £250,000 Betfred Cesarewitch Handicap.
After combining to win the Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye with Marsha in Chantilly on Sunday, Sir Mark Prescott and jockey Luke Morris will be hoping to do the same in the two-and-a-quarter mile heritage handicap with favourite St Michel.
St Michel was a fine third in the Group 2 Doncaster Cup last month and connections will be hoping to go one better on home territory.