William Haggas is “savouring the moment” after Addeybb won his latest battle with great Australian rival Verry Elleegant to take the Group One Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes for the second successive year at Randwick.
Haggas’ Champion Stakes hero was taking revenge on Verry Elleegant, who had beaten him into second on his return in last month’s Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill but this time had to settle for minor honours herself.
Addeybb got the better of the mare in their two tussles in both races last year, before heading back to Britain and winning the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October.
He was equipped with blinkers for the first time, in place of cheekpieces, at Randwick – where the rain Haggas was hoping for did not arrive.
Addeybb, whose preference is for softer conditions, was sent off 11-5 second favourite. But after being slightly slow out of the stalls, Tom Marquand soon moved him prominent, led into the final two furlongs and repelled Verry Elleegant’s late challenge to win by half a length.
Back at his Newmarket base, Haggas was full of praise for both the four-time Group One winner and his jockey.
“It was a great victory – I’m delighted, thrilled,” he said.
“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.”
Haggas stressed credit is due to Marquand not just for his riding but his suggestion that blinkers would help seven-year-old Addeybb at this stage of his career.
“He didn’t jump again today – but Tom got him in a good position after three furlongs,” he said.
“The horse fought hard, and he was extremely well ridden.
“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.”
Haggas will not be making any definite plans about Addeybb’s schedule until he is settled back in Britain.
Last year, he was second in Royal Ascot’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes little more than two months after the Queen Elizabeth.
A return to Australia may be the eventual priority, however, with major prizes at home on the agenda too in the interim if all is well.
“It would be nice to go back a third time to Australia, this time next year,” added Haggas.
“We’ve just got to box clever and think of a programme – of all the mile-and-a-quarter races for him.
“But let’s see how he is when he gets back – that’s the most important thing.”
An emotional Marquand described Addeybb as a “monster” when he is at his best.
“Genuinely it’s the closest I’ve been to tears for a very, very, very long time,” he said.
“From the 400, as they were coming to him, he gave me the same feel as last year.
“I know I said he wasn’t 100 per cent in the Ranvet – and I guess a lot of people would have said Verry Elleegant was better this year.
“But I couldn’t help but walk away thinking that wasn’t him, and today he has proved when he’s on song he gives you a different feel altogether.
“He’s a monster when he’s in his element. He is the epitome of English racehorses. He dogs it out, toughs it out – and today he was just exceptional.”