July 27, 2018 News
JOCKEY Robert Havlin is a key cog in the machinery at John Gosden’s yard, helping prime horses for the big day as chief work rider before filling in the role as second jockey at the lesser meetings.
However, Frankie Dettori’s suspension this weekend means Havlin has the chance to shine on the biggest stage as he partners Cracksman, a horse he rides every day at home, in the Qipco King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot – weather permitting.
We spoke to Havlin about his weekend rides and caught up on the progress of some of the other stars in the Gosden stable.
How crucial is it that rain arrives for Cracksman in the Qipco King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at the weekend?
It’s 100 per cent too fast for him at the minute and we’ll need some rain from the thunderstorms that are forecast. I’ll be praying they hit as we need some ease in the ground for him to run. It’s unbelievably exciting and I have to thank Mr Gosden and Mr Oppenheimer for having the faith in me to put me on him. I know the horse very well, so hopefully that’ll be a positive.
What have you made of his performances so far this season?
He was exciting in the Ganay and perhaps he had a harder race than we thought. At Epsom it was still a big effort to win. We don’t know why he didn’t travel up the hill, but it was a massive effort to come from where he did to actually win. That was a gutbuster. He might have had his eye on the girls at Ascot, or was feeling a bit sour after two hard races, we’re not sure. He’s fresh in the mornings and giving me the feel he’s back to his best.
Stablemate Coronet also runs in the King George. What do you make of her prospects?
She’s highly versatile and can run just as well on any ground. She was extremely unlucky last time – she was ahead a stride in front of the line and a stride afterwards but not on the line. She’s been training well, is fresh and likes Ascot. She’s got a bit to find with the market principals, but she goes there in great order.
You start the day by riding Angel’s Hideaway in the Princess Margaret Stakes. How do you think she will get on?
If you take away the winner of the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes, who was very impressive, then she was very good in that race at Newmarket. She’s the only filly in this race with Group form – the others are stepping up from novice contests or weak Listed races – and she deserves to be favourite in my opinion.
Il Primo Sole contests the International Handicap. Do you think he can improve on his run in the Britannia at Royal Ascot last time?
It was a funny race in the Britannia as Silvestre [de Sousa] got to the front and messed around with the pace. We didn’t go that fast through the first couple of furlongs and then he put the gas on and nobody could peg him back. If the rain doesn’t arrive he has a great chance as he loves fast ground. He’s dropping back in trip and isn’t short of speed. We just can’t be entirely sure where the pace will be, but he is drawn near the fancied horses which helps.
Looking ahead to Glorious Goodwood next week, how are things with Sussex Stakes contender Without Parole?
He was fantastic at Royal Ascot. He’s a very laidback horse and that’s a big help for him. Andrea [Atzeni] rode him on Wednesday and I’ve ridden him in his last couple of pieces of work, in which he’s gone really well. Goodwood is an entirely different story to Ascot as it’s more like 7½f next week compared to 1m1f last time. We think he’ll stay a mile and a quarter, so that difference in relative trip is the one minor little niggle. But he seems in great order.
Stradivarius will also be in action in the Goodwood Cup. All well with him before the big race?
He’s absolutely bouncing. He’s always just behind me and Cracksman in the string in the morning and he seems in particularly good order. He’s a very talented horse.
Calyx was arguably the most impressive winner of the week at Royal Ascot. What did you make of his performance that day?
He’s just got a devastating burst of speed. He had to do it the hard was in the Coventry Stakes and I’m sure if he’d have been on the other side Frankie would’ve been able to sit on him for a lot longer before he pushed the button. It was only his second run and he was asked to really run for two-and-a-half furlongs and he stuck his head down and did that. It was a proper performance. He goes for the Prix Morny at Deauville next and everyone is looking forward to it.
And, finally, how is Coral-Eclipse winner Roaring Lion ahead of the Juddmonte International?
He’s headed for the Juddmonte International at York. He seems to be growing up a lot. He used to muck around and his mind would wander in races, but he’s getting it together now. He’s growing into a man and that can only help him in the future.