By Nicholas Godfrey
So you know Addeybb conquered Australia again with a courageous victory over arch-rival Verry Elleegant to complete back-to-back successes in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, A$4m (£2.23m) highlight of Day 2 of The Championships at Randwick. Here’s some other stuff you might be interested in – plus videos and tweets.
What’s going on?
‘A very emotional moment’ – William Haggas
Emotions were running high after Addeybb’s hard-fought half-length success over arch-rival Verry Elleegant as he took the score to 3-1 in their personal battle with his fourth G1 triumph.
Speaking from Newmarket, trainer William Haggas admitted to the jitters as the seven-year-old attempted to turn the tables on the eight-time G1 winner who had beaten him three weeks ago in the Ranvet Stakes.
“I have to say I couldn’t watch it,” said Haggas. “Once he jumped slow and there was a bit of fiddling about early on I walked out into the yard where all the staff were watching on a big television. One of the girls said she felt sick – it was a very emotional moment, a monumental moment.
It was a great victory – I’m delighted, thrilled. I’ll savour the moment. I’ve trained a lot of losers in my life so I’ve learned you should celebrate the victories when they come, and we’re going to do that now.”
Hat-trick talk in the air
Future plans for Addeybb are not set in stone – but they are likely to include a return to Sydney in 2022, when he would be bidding to join an exalted list of horses who have won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (former AJC Plate) three times, among them Carbine (1889-91), Tulloch (1958, 1960-61) and Winx (2017-19).
“It would be nice to go back a third time to Australia, this time next year,” said Haggas, who has yet to formulate ideas about the European summer.
“We’ve just got to box clever and think of a programme – of all the mile-and-a-quarter races for him,” he said. “But let’s see how he is when he gets back – that’s the most important thing.”
Tom Marquand close to tears
After completing back-to-back victories in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, jockey Tom Marquand did not attempt to hide his emotions.
“Genuinely it’s the closest I’ve been to tears for a very, very long time,” said Marquand, 23. “It’s been pretty tough being away from home for a couple of months but I’d do it ten times for a moment like that.”
Addeybb is a ‘monster’ – Marquand
Tom Marquand has a total of five G1 successes to his name – four of them on Addeybb (plus Galileo Chrome after a last-minute call-up in the St Leger).
Hardly surprising, then, that the son of Pivotal has a prominent palace in the jockey’s affections. “He’s a monster when he’s in his element,” said Marquand. “He is the epitome of English racehorses, he dogs it out, toughs it out and today he was just exceptional.
“I can’t even begin to imagine what I’d have thought five years ago if you’d said I’d have a horse like him pushing my career forwards. He’s done it down here, he’s done it back at home and honestly, I’m the most privileged person in the world to be sat on him.”
No grounds for concern
Given his preference for softer ground, Addeybb was sent off 11-5 second favourite behind 13-10 market leader Verry Elleegant.
“I was worried about the ground but this is a remarkably resilient horse and he proved it today,” said William Haggas. “There was no rain, but Tom said it was just on the slow side of good – it wasn’t firm anyway, which is what I was frightened of.”
Blinkers not winkers – jockey’s call
Addeybb’s gear was changed for the Queen Elizabeth, with blinkers replacing the cheekpieces (or ‘winkers’ in Aussie parlance) – a move for which William Haggas deflected credit to his jockey.
“The blinkers were totally Tom’s call and I supported him,” he said. “That’s what trainers do – they support their team. It was a good call by Tom; he got it right.”
‘Hello William – it’s Chris Waller on the line …”
William Haggas revealed that he received a call from Verry Elleegant’s trainer almost as soon as the race was over.
“The first person who rang after the horses crossed the line was Chris Waller – and that shows what a sportsman he is,” said Haggas. “This is a tremendous day for racing both northern and southern hemisphere and we’re proud to be part of it.”
Waller, for his part, paid tribute to the Addeybb team. “Full credit to the winner, William Haggas for sending him down and Tom Marquand for a great ride,” said the man whse name will forever be associated with the legendary Winx.
“He’s world-class horse, we know that, and we certainly weren’t disgraced and we’re still very proud of Verry Elleegant.”
Verry Elleegant needs stronger tempo
Chris Waller suggested his star mare would have been suited by a stronger gallop after she pulled hard under James McDonald.
“You can’t win them all,” said the trainer, who had a G1 double elsewhere on Day 2 of The Championships with Hungry Heart (Australian Oaks) and Selino (Sydney Cup).
“She wasn’t really suited by the slow tempo but if you want to win every race you’ve got to be perfect in every facet. She just needs a really good gallop to have a really good crack at it but hey, it might have suited the winner more as well.”
What’s it like to see a crowd?
While Addeybb’s first Queen Elizabeth Stakes success was played out at an empty racecourse owing to COVID restrictions 12 months ago, the crowds were back for this year’s Randwick showdown.
“The atmosphere at Royal Randwick today was electric and it was great to see a big crowd back on course after a tough year through COVID,” said Peter V’landys, Racing NSW CEO.
“The Championships grows with each year and the quality of today’s race fields was as good as you would see anywhere in the world – the racing was spectacular.”
Shall we talk about it?
Tom Marquand (Addeybb’s jockey): “Last year was incredible – but I couldn’t help but think, a few months later, what a shame it was for Addeybb to come down here and win a race of this magnitude with no crowd. I thought I was unlucky.
“Now I realise I am twice as lucky because I did it once, rode my first Group 1 winner down here without a crowd and now it’s like doing it all over again. The atmosphere here is just incredible. What a phenomenal effort from William Haggas to bring him back down here.
“I’m not going to lie – I was sceptical, as many were, and all I can say is thank you because it’s been incredible. He’s always a pretty average workhorse. Until this year I have only ever sat on him once at home. William was always pretty keen to just go and sit on him at the races where he gives you confidence.
“At home he is pretty underwhelming and to be honest it put doubts in my mind, which you can’t help, but he’s a monster when he gets on track, he just changes, and how tough he was there, genuinely, at the 300m I got into a state of it didn’t matter what was around me it was just him galloping. He’s incredible.
“I was completely unaware of which horses were where, all I could feel what that they were all pushing to the line, but if ever there is a horse to have at the 200m in a scrap it is him.”
William Haggas (Addeybb’s trainer): “There was no rain, but Tom said it was just on the slow side of good – it wasn’t firm anyway, which is what I was frightened of. The blinkers were totally Tom’s call, and he got it right.”
Chris Waller (Verry Elleegant’s trainer): “She wasn’t really suited by the slow tempo but if you want to win every race you’ve got to be perfect in every facet. Her facet is she likes to fight and have a real tough contest, but full credit to the winner, William Haggas for sending him down and Tom Marquand for a great ride.
“He’s a world-class horse, we know that, and we certainly weren’t disgraced and we’re still very proud of Verry Elleegant. She just needs a really good gallop to have a really good crack at it but hey, it might have suited the winner more as well.”
James McDonald (Verry Elleegant’s jockey): “She went amazing. She was pulling a bit hard early, and was jostled a bit which got her upset.”
Glen Boss (Sir Dragonet’s jockey): “Probably not my most intelligent ride I’ve ever ridden in a race. He was good. With the tempo in the race I probably should have made a mid-race move at the mile. But I thought I’d tag Verry Elleegant who was probably the horse to beat. He was left flat-footed when they sprinted. In all honesty I should have been on my bike much much earlier. “