The redoubtable Hamish bagged his sixth win at Group Three level in the l’Ormarins King’s Plate Glorious Stakes at Goodwood.
The lightly-raced seven-year-old had won eight of his 16 previous starts in all, most recently pipping Scriptwriter to success in the John Smith’s Silver Cup at York three weeks ago.
Trainer William Haggas declared Hamish for a stellar renewal of the King George at Ascot last weekend, but fast ground scuppered his participation and he instead arrived at Goodwood as a 5-6 favourite in the hands of Tom Marquand.
Ridden patiently in midfield for much of the mile-and-a-half-contest, the son of Motivator – who is owned by the trainer’s father, Brian – burst into it late before powering to a four-length verdict over Jack Darcy, with the winner’s stablemate, Candleford, best of the rest in third.
Haggas said: “The horse has been an absolute nightmare today to saddle. Poor Maureen (wife) has been jumped on about eight times, she’s got blood coming out of the top of her head because the horse struck her, but she adores this horse and she does everything with him. I’m taking no credit myself, the credit and the praise should go to her.
“I rang my father, who is a very proud Yorkshireman, and said ‘he’s been a bloody nightmare today, when he’s like this he never runs his best’, and he said ‘I think he’s like the north!’.
“He’s quite good at York, the horse, so he’s probably right.”
He went on: “I didn’t think this was a strong race for the grade and he was always travelling well. Tom said after the race this was the best the horse has felt this year. He scrambled home a bit at York last time, and while he likes a bit of cut in the ground he likes it wet.
“He won and poor Candleford was cantering, but got lost in the ground – it’s too tacky for him. He wants top of the ground. Candleford ran a good race, but Hamish was better.
“He won’t run in the Ebor. He’s hard to place, and while people said I should have run him in the King George I couldn’t do that on drying ground. You can run in a race like this on drying ground, but the King George is a different thing. My father quickly pointed out he has only run against one of this year’s King George horses, and that was Hukum and he beat him (in the September Stakes at Kempton in 2021)! He was lambasting me for not running.
“The Irish St Leger is a possibility, but he wants soft ground. We’ve been lucky this summer – ha, ha, what summer? – that we’ve had some soft ground. He’s run twice in a fortnight, while last year we couldn’t get anything out of him at all.”
Hamish was making it a good two days for the Haggas team, after the King and Queen’s Desert Hero booked his St Leger ticket with victory on Thursday.
Confirming Doncaster for the world’s oldest Classic as the plan, Haggas said: “He’s in the Voltigeur, but doesn’t need to run there, so all being well he will go straight to the Leger. I think we ought to try it because there’s plenty of stamina on the dam’s side and he’s by Sea The Stars, a very versatile stallion.
“He has a chance of getting the trip. Gregory will be hard to beat, but we will give it a go.”