Nicholson Gin Vintage Stakes
Group 2, Goodwood 15:25
£175,000 guaranteed,
2yo only,
7f, Class 1
Tuesday 1st August 2023


1 Haatem 9/4F
2 Iberian 10/3
3 Mountain Bear 11/1
9 ran Distances: 1l, nk, ½l
Time: 1m 30.15s (slow by 5.85s)

Second behind City Of Troy in the G2 Superlative Stakes last time out, Haatem was ideally placed behind the leaders before launching his challenge approaching the final furlong.

The Phoenix Of Spain colt picked up nicely under Sean Levey to win by a length at the line. Runner-up Iberian ran an eye-catching race in second, coming home strongly down the middle of the track on just his second career start, with Mountain Bear a neck further back in third.

Hannon, enjoying his first win in a race his father won five times, said: “I am very pleased. Haatem is a lovely horse and deserved that after running so well in the Coventry and the Superlative. 

“I thought this was his day and could be his Derby, but he will get better as the year goes on and is a horse big enough for next year. He is not just about being a two-year-old. He ran here first time and has improved all year. He is a Group Two winner now, so obviously we will have to look at Group One races, but he is getting better. He has to improve to take on the real big guys, but he is doing that with every run.”

On how Haatem compares with last weekend’s impressive Ascot winner Rosallion, Hannon said: “This horse has won a very good race today. Rosallion might be the best we’ve had for years, but this fellow is a quiet achiever and gets better every day. 

“Rosallion looks very much out of the ordinary. He has always worked like that and he won like that. This lad, he’s your mate, tries hard every day and gets better.”

Levey said: “On paper, Haatem deserved to win this. For a big horse, he hasn’t missed any dances and he’s been unlucky to run into a couple of exceptional horses without getting his head in front.

“He ran into an exceptional horse of Mr O'Brien's last time out in the Superlative Stakes. His form stood out today and I would have been disappointed if he did get beaten.

"He is a big horse with plenty of scope who will keep improving. It is a sharp track here and, as much as he has a classy way of travelling, I did feel he was a bit workmanlike through the line. He gave the impression that going up to a mile might get a little bit more out of him. He doesn't have anything else to prove this year, but we'll proceed with time in mind.

“He is definitely a horse you would side with. I think the handicapper has him bang on and, off that mark with the scope he has, there is no doubt that with every month he can improve. With a winter on him, he could be anything next year.”

Charlie Hills said of Iberian: “He is a really nice horse. William [Buick] was very impressed by him. Obviously being drawn nine, he had to be patient with him. He has run a great race, very eye-catching. I think we’ll probably look at the Champagne Stakes and, if he goes well there, the Dewhurst. That softer surface probably blunted the speed out of him. He had them covered but when William asked he just floundered a little bit on the going. I am just pleased he stepped up to show us that he’s up to this level.”

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Nicholson Gin Vintage Stakes
£175,000 guaranteed, 2yo only, 7f, Class 1
9 ran
Going: Good to Soft

1 (4)    Haatem 2 9-3 Richard Hannon Sean Levey 9/4F
2 (9)
1 Iberian 2 9-3 Charles Hills William Buick 100/30
3 (7)
nk Mountain Bear 2 9-3 A P O'Brien Ryan Moore 11/1
4 (5) ½ Golden Mind 2 9-3 Richard Fahey Frankie Dettori 4/1
5 (2)
½ Son 2 9-3 Richard Hannon Pat Dobbs 20/1
6 (1)
Witness Stand 2 9-3 Tom Clover Daniel Tudhope 14/1
7 (8)
Soldier's Gold 2 9-3 Hugo Palmer Richard Kingscote 20/1
8 (3)
Thunder Blue 2 9-3 Dominic Ffrench Davis Kevin Stott 8/1
9 (6)
Spanish Phoenix 2 9-3 Andrew Balding Oisin Murphy 14/1