Haggas closes on York title
William Haggas faces a busy 48 hours as he looks to be crowned York's leading trainer for 2012.
The Yorkshire born trainer will run no fewer than eight horses at the Knavesnmire on Friday and Saturday as he bids to become the racecourse's leading trainer for the first time in his career.
Musley Bank-based Richard Fahey has claimed the honour for an incredible six straight seasons - but his dominance on the Knavesmire may just be about to come to an end.
Fahey will approach York's finale meeting with four winners at the course in 2012 - half of Haggas' tally. But if Haggas can remain on top of the pile after the last on Saturday it will be still be a victory for Yorkshire - as he was born in Skipton.
Now Newmarket based, he said: "I would very much like to win the York trainers' title if possible. I love York, it is a great track with great facilities - it is just a wonderful racecourse."
Haggas can look back on a satisfying year on the Knavesmire where he has had a series of high-profile triumphs.
Sholaan ran out an emphatic five-length winner of the lucrative Bond Tyres Trophy in June, while there was plenty for Haggas to celebrate at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
Progressive stayer Guarantee struck gold in the Betfred Melrose Handicap and Rosdhu Queen landed the Group 2 Jaguar Cars Lowther Stakes.
Haggas reflected: "The filly Rosdhu Queen's win in the Lowther and that of Guarantee in the Melrose were great. Another highlight was for Sholaan to win the Bond Tyres Trophy as he did."
If Haggas does get over the line first in the race to finish as York's leading trainer for 2012, the three-year-old colt Heeraat will have played his part. Already twice a winner at York this year, Heeraat is set to vie for favouritism in the valuable Coral Sprint Trophy Handicap.
Haggas assessed: "It will be harder for Heeraat on Saturday as he is going up against older horses - so it will be much tougher for him. But he is a useful horse who loves the ground - 'cut' will be no problem to him."
On Friday, Haggas' best two chances look like being Sky Garden in the Brittains E.B.F Maiden Stakes and Tawaasul in the Parsonage Hotel and Spa Handicap.
The following afternoon, as outlined, Heeraat will have leading claims in the £75,000 Coral backed feature and Odooj - fourth in the Group 2 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes - should be in the shake-up in the coral.co.uk Listed Rockingham Stakes.
The opposition to Haggas in the HA Fox Jaguar backed trainers' title race is led by Yorkshire duo Tim Easterby and David O'Meara, who have both secured seven winners at the course this year. Don't rule out, either, a late charge from Hambleton's Kevin Ryan - or, indeed, Fahey who has ten second places that might yet prove decisive in the event of a tie at the top. All the leading contenders look to be well represented.
The Living North jockey crown at York could be heading to Kieren Fallon, on top at the moment with eight winners. He has five booked rides tomorrow but don't discount the chances of defending champion Paul Hanagan and David Allan.
The latter pair both have six winners at the course to date in 2012. However, they are due to ride at the track over both of the next two days - unlike Fallon who is at Newmarket on Saturday.
What's clear is that the respective trainers' and the jockeys' titles look sure to go to the wire. And they will add further intrigue to the final two days of another memorable season at York.
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