Haggas team dubious about Dubai

The William Haggas team is all but resigned to running Dubai Honour on unfavourable ground at Rosehill, hopeful the weather will turn in time for his Queen Elizabeth Stakes raid.

A dual Group 2 winner in France, Dubai Honour is one of two international acceptors for the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) on Saturday, along with Raise You who will be champion trainer Joseph O’Brien’s first Sydney starter.

Haggas has already struck at this year’s Sydney autumn carnival, winning last weekend’s Sky High Stakes with Protagonist, but stable representative Isabella Paul has reservations about Dubai Honour doing likewise on what is expected to be a firm Rosehill track.

“Dubai Honour, he wasn’t the same horse as he was as a three-year-old last year because he never got his ground, and it would be a shame for that to happen again given it usually is a bit of a deluge down here,” Paul said at a media call on Wednesday.

“He needs a run, the ground won’t necessarily suit him but he’s a lovely horse and the main aim will be hopefully the Queen Elizabeth.”

While the Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill a week later is a potential back-up for Dubai Honour if Saturday’s track is deemed too firm, Paul says their preference is to start him off this week.

The team has snapped up the services of champion English jockey Ryan Moore, who is in town to partner the Coolmore-owned Shinzo in the $5 million Golden Slipper.

“He’s down here riding for Chris Waller and Coolmore, he rides a bit for the boss at home when we can get him, so why not use him?” Paul said.

Paul also reported Protagonist had come through his Sky High Stakes win well and would push on to either the Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 1 or Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) a week later.

Purplepay will also continue on a path to the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes on Doncaster day despite her unplaced finish in the Coolmore Classic when she found the ground too firm.

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