Haatem pulls nicely clear under Sean Levey
Haatem - bought by Wathnan Racing

Royal Ascot: Wathnan Racing add Haatem and other big names to team

Wathnan Racing have added leading three-year-old miler Haatem to their team for Royal Ascot.

Placed in both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas in the colours of Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah, he will sport new silks in Berkshire where he is set to drop in trip.

Speaking on Wednesday's Nick Luck Daily Podcast, Richard Brown, racing manager for the colt's new owners, said: “Hopefully we’ve assembled a team of horses who can go to Ascot and have chances.

“Haatem is obviously one of them, but he almost certainly won’t run in the St James’s Palace, we’re probably going to run him in the Jersey.

“This is a tough horse, he’s come up against the two best three-year-old milers around and has got closer in Ireland than he did in Newmarket. I think we just felt in Ireland he showed plenty of speed and while he’ll have a three-pound penalty for his Craven win, we feel a stiff seven at Ascot could be right up his alley.

“You have to be realistic. Notable Speech and Rosallion will be very hard to beat but we’ll keep an eye on the St James's Palace but if those two are going there we’ll probably stick to calmer waters in the Jersey and go back up to Group Ones later in the season."

Horse Racing Podcast: Epsom Reflections

So how easy is to buy an established star such as Haatem?

“It always depends on who owns the horse, what they’re thinking and the brief of their individual operations. Sheikh Abdullah and his team have obviously owned some very good horses and were superb to deal with. It was very straightforward, they were clear on what they wanted for the horse, he's a very high value horse having proven himself a Classic performer. They were very straightforward and we decided we would proceed with what they wanted for the horse."

He will be joined in Wathnan Racing ranks by other new recruits Shartash, the Willie Mullins-trained Lope De Lilas, three-year-old sprinter Dyrholaey and Torito from the John and Thady Gosden stable.

“Shartash is going to the Queen Elizbeth II Jubilee Stakes. He was obviously a very good two-year-old winning the Railway Stakes. He joined Archie at the end of the year, he gelded him, and he’s two from two over seven furlongs this year and I would think the stiff six at Ascot should be ideal. Archie has a very good record at Royal Ascot and he looks to have a realistic chance of being placed," Brown added.

“The way Lope De Lilas galloped out at Leopardstown was extraordinary and she looked like she wanted to go around again. We sort of had Ascot in our mind thinking about the Ribblesdale, but Willie was keen to take his time with her. She’s a big filly who is only going to get better with time so we’ve put a line through Ascot and the Irish Oaks is the next target.

Lope De Lilas, ridden by Colin Keane
Lope De Lilas, ridden by Colin Keane

“Dyrholaey is three from three again for Archie Watson, completing a hat-trick on the all-weather. He’s going to head to the Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes. Obviously, these races are extremely hard to win and are very competitive but he looks a horse with a very progressive profile.

"Torito had a troubled passage in last year’s Hampton Court and could probably have finished closer and I liked his seasonal comeback in the Suffolk Stakes off 105. He’ll take his chance in the Wolferton."

There'll be other older horses representing Wathnan Racing in two weeks time and a squad of exciting two-year-olds too, sourced from the breeze-up sales.

Brown added: “I’ve been doing it long enough to know until you’re actually get there and they go in the gates, there’s a lot of water to flow under the bridge. The breeze-up project, Olly Tait was keen to do, we bought about 15 yearlings last year and they were more the Frankels and Kingmans, the more backward three-year-old types.

“So we thought when we were strategising over the winter to go into the breeze-up market for some sharper types would be a good way of keeping the momentum rolling so we did that. We bought 11 and are absolutely delighted with how they’ve started.

“The four that have won, the plan is for them to go to Ascot providing they are ok. Aesterius who won at Bath for Archie Watson will go for the Norfolk or the Windsor Castle. Columnist who won at Chester over six will hopefully go to the Coventry.

“Catalyse is another colt with Richard Fahey who won at Hamilton and I thought looked quite stylish. He’ll go to the Coventry and Electrolyte who won at Ayr, beating a red-hot favourite who brought pretty good debut form into the race, will also go for the Coventry. James Doyle takes a lot to be impressed but he was pretty taken when I spoke to him after that run."

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