International competition good for racing: Haggas

Nature Strip has been a star of Australian racing for several seasons, but incredibly it took winning at Royal Ascot to put the horse on the radar in England.

While the Chris Waller-trained speedster had sat atop the Longines rankings as the world’s best sprinter for some time, visiting UK trainer William Haggas admitted the gelding was a virtual unknown in England until his emphatic victory in the King’s Stand Stakes last June.

“Nature Strip winning was terrific. Nobody really had heard of him,” Haggas said.

“He was a great horse but until he won, I can’t remember what price he was but he was probably an enormously good price (in England) for here and he blitzed them.”

Haggas has won races around the globe and Sydney has been his latest focus.

He saddled up three runners across the two days of The Championships, Protagonist in the Doncaster Mile (1600m), Dubai Honour in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) and Purplepay in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m).

Haggas said ventures like Nature Strip’s Royal Ascot success and the interest inspired by the showdown between Dubai Honour and local star Anamoe in Saturday’s $5 million feature was vital to the growth of the sport.

“I hope all these things generate global interest,” Haggas said.

“That’s what we all hope and we want to see horses from Europe coming here and we want to see horses from Australia coming to England.”

Haggas might make travelling horses to the other side of the world look easy, but he says it’s a difficult and expensive exercise.

Identifying the right horse is paramount and while his most recent trip has yielded conquests with Dubai Honour (Ranvet and Queen Elizabeth Stakes) and Protagonist (Sky High Stakes), the moderate performances of miler Purplepay have been just as valuable for his learning.

However, he is likely to stick to bringing only staying types in future given the depth in Australia’s sprinter-miler ranks.

“It’s a hard thing to do, to go across the world and win,” he said.

“I wouldn’t even dream of bringing a horse – and that’s probably one of things about Purplepay – up to a mile where you’re just as strong as anyone in the world. I would never dream about bringing a sprinter down here.

“But when you get up in trip a bit, the Europeans come to the fore.”

Haggas will fly back to England after plundering the Queen Elizabeth Stakes with Dubai Honour, confirming he is continuing to looking into setting up a permanent Australian base in partnership with fellow UK trainer Andrew Balding.

About RS NewsWire

Racing and Sports is a global publisher of online horse racing form and information, and a leader in interactive racing technology. Racing and Sports is at the cutting-edge of information technology, allowing businesses and website users first access to emerging technologies.

Bookmaker Why Bet Sign Up Full Review
Bet Now at ladbrokes Back Yourself with Ladbrokes! Join Review
Bet Now at neds Back a Winner with Neds! Join Review
Bet Now at palmerbet Sign up to Unibet and start betting in minutes! Join Review
Bet Now at tab Sign up to TAB and start betting in minutes! Join Review
Bet Now at playup Sign up to PlayUp and start betting in minutes! Join Review