Newmarket handler William Hagges gained a Listed 9.7/1 double at Lingfield Park on Thursday, November 2, headed by a repeat victory for Muffri’Ha in the £40,000 32Red EBF Stallions Fleur De Lys Fillies’ Stakes (1.20pm), a Fast-Track Qualifier.
In winning the mile Polytrack contest, the five-year-old receives a free and automatic place in the £150,000 32Red Fillies & Mares Championships over seven furlongs at Lingfield Park on Good Friday (March 30, 2018), although a date with the breeding sheds instead beckons for the daughter of Iffraaj.
Muffri’Ha, who took the same race in 2016 before going on to finish third in the G1 Jebel Hatta at Meydan, UAE, earlier this year, was reluctant to go down to the start, but broke well and soon raced in second for James Doyle before quickening smartly to take the lead over a furlong out.
The 11/8 favourite readily asserted in the closing stages to score by a length over Zest (20/1, James Fanshawe/Daniel Muscutt) in 1m 35.01s, with half a length back to long-time leader, Godolphin’s Promising Run (11/4, Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave).
Maureen Haggas, wife and assistant to the winning trainer, said: “Muffri’Ha is getting naughtier and naughtier before the race. She wasn’t great in Dubai in the winter, but we got round her and she ran really well in Dubai.
“She had a break in the summer and was very naughty at Newmarket first time back when she stopped to look at the television on the way down and then overshot the start and wouldn’t come back.
“We ponied her to the start on her last two starts at Newmarket, which worked well, but we thought she would be OK here today [without the pony] because she has run here twice and never been a problem. She got as far away as she could and then stopped, looked and waited for us to come and get her.
“She looked great and was in such good form that we decided to bring her here today. James did a good job. He said they did not go flat out from the gate, which helped her, and he gave her a lovely ride. You need a bit of luck when you are drawn out there [stall 11].
“It is obviously up Sheikh Juma [owner] but there is not really much more for her left to prove. She is G1-placed and G2-placed, and she has won a G3 and umpteen Listed races. I think she has done her stuff really and the most important thing is that she gets in foal next spring.
“She is what you would call a character. We have the hang of her at home, but she can still catch you out some mornings. She has been fantastic and has just improved and improved.
“She is pretty solid and reliable now – as long as you can get her to the stalls, you know she is going to give 100 per cent every time.
“Those animals are hard to come by and we will miss her.”
Bruce Raymond, racing manager to Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum, commented: “James did well to get Muffri’Ha over from her high draw. She is not bad, but a bit stubborn – she was the same at Newmarket last time, when she stopped to look at the TV screen and then overshot the start. I would imagine that will be her lot now and she will head to stud.”
James Doyle added: “It worked out quite nicely. Muffri’Ha has broken a little slow in the past but she jumped nicely today and that always helps when you are drawn out in stall 11.
“She is very consistent and tough. Once we got over the pace slackening, we had no cover but she relaxed very nicely. We really did go slowly through the middle section and she surprised me off the turn – she quickened really well and put the race to bed quite quickly.
“I don’t think she means anything by her stubbornness. She doesn’t actually do anything apart from stand still, taking in all the surroundings. You don’t mind it when she comes home like that in the race.”
Haggas also captured the 13-furlong £40,000 Listed 32Red EBF Stallions River Eden Fillies’ Stakes (2.25pm) with Daphne, a lightly-raced four-year-old filly owned and bred by The Queen, beating 12 rivals.
The daughter of Duke Of Marmalade, fourth after being held up in a 14-furlong Listed race on turf at Yarmouth on October 16, was settled behind the leaders by Jim Crowley before challenging for the lead between runners a furlong out.
Daphne (7/2) ran on to prevail by a length and a half over 9/4 market leader Melodic Motion (Ralph Beckett/James Doyle) in 2m 40.70s, with 5/1 chance Cribbs Causeway (Roger Charlton/Kieran Shoemark) taking third, a further three-quarters of a length in arrears.
Maureen Haggas said: “I am thrilled to bits for Daphne because it didn’t quite go her way last time. I wondered whether this track might be a bit quick for her but it seemed to suit her well and she quickened away nicely.
“Everything went smoothly for her today. She looked happy and ran really well. She struck into herself in the spring and it was quite nasty, so that is why she didn’t run for so long. I am not actually sure what we will do but she is in good form.
“William and John [Warren – The Queen’s racing manager] will sit down and work it out. She has had a very light year so, while she is fit, well and if there are races for her, maybe we can kick on.”
Jim Crowley commented: “It didn’t really work out for Daphne at Yarmouth last time. We were straight into the bend that day and I took her back but they went no pace. I had a lovely draw  today and there was plenty of pace early on. I got a nice, smooth tow the whole way.
“She has plenty of ability and is a nice progressive filly. It’s a great pleasure to ride in the Royal silks.
James Doyle recorded a 45/1 treble on the day as progressive three-year-old Gulliver and juvenile debutant Statehood added to the jockey’s success on Muffri’Ha.
9/4 favourite Gulliver, successful in a six-furlong Tapeta handicap at Wolverhampton on October 7, made it two from two on the All-Weather with a swooping victory in the £19,000 Play Jackpot Games At sunbets.co.uk/vegas Handicap (1.50pm) over seven furlongs.
The Hugo Palmer-trained gelding ran on strongly to beat Sacred Act (12/1, Michael Bell/Fran Berry) by a neck as the first two finished two and a quarter lengths clear of Shyron (14/1, George Margarson/Jane Elliott (5)) in third.
James Doyle commented: “Gulliver came here in good shape. Jack Mitchell gave him a very good ride at Wolverhampton – when he sliced through the pack and just got up – and it was similar today. He was racing over seven furlongs today and probably jumped a little too well, so I just had to rein him back early.
“Once we got our cover, I was saving ground on the inside from a nice draw. We got the gaps and he quickened up well. When it pans out, it looks quite nice.
“I think that he would have enough speed for six furlongs around Kempton or Wolverhampton but it might take him off his feet around here.”
George Boughey, assistant trainer to Hugo Palmer, said: “Gulliver won well and he is a fun horse going forward. He looks pretty progressive – he has won there off a mark of 95 – and a return to the All-Weather seems to have brought out the best in him.
“He has finally learned how to jump and travel – he used to miss the kick by about 10 lengths. I think a mile might stretch him but he is a fun horse for the winter.”
Godolphin colt Statehood (5/1) made a winning debut for Charlie Appleby when staying on well to overhaul On The Warpath (14/1, Sir Mark Prescott/ Ryan Powell) near the line and score by a neck, with 4/7 favourite Il Primo Sole (John Gosden/Robert Havlin) only able to finish a nose back in third.
James Doyle said: “Statehood had a nicer draw  than Il Primo Sole  and we secured a nice pitch. I was surprised to see the Gosden horse on my inside, so I had him where I wanted him, so when I kicked off the bend, Statehood quickened up well.
“He was only doing enough and is still learning his trade, so he should come forward for this, while I think this is the right trip for him.”