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Dubai Honour could head to Bahrain International Trophy, Dubai or Hong Kong after Champion Stakes second

Dubai Honour chased home Champion Stakes winner Sealiway at Ascot on Saturday; William Haggas' three-year-old now facing international options in Bahrain, Dubai and Hong Kong; Haggas going 'back to the drawing board' with Al Aasy

Dubai Honour wins the Bet365 Handicap at Newmarket in July
Image: Dubai Honour wins the Bet365 Handicap at Newmarket in July

Gallant Champion Stakes runner-up Dubai Honour has several options abroad after his meteoric rise through the ranks.

Beaten in a nursery at York off a mark of 90 this time last year, he has subsequently won three of his five outings including two Group Twos in France.

Having been supplemented for Saturday's race, he showed he belongs at the highest level when just failing to peg back Sealiway.

"He ran a fantastic race. It got a little bit messy early, but then he got into a nice rhythm. I thought he came to win but the other horse outstayed him in the end," said his proud trainer William Haggas, who also ran last year's winner Addeybb and Al Aasy.

"He'd done a lot of running from three (furlongs) out to one out and these are good horses. He gave them a bit of a start on soft ground.

"They'd gone really hard. The plan was for Tom (Marquand) to go forward with Addeybb, but he was a bit fresh and William's (Buick) horse (Adayar) never left him alone. They got racing and paid for it in the straight.

"The French horse (Sealiway) got a lovely tow into it, but he's obviously a very smart colt. I thought we were going to get him but his run just petered out."

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Sealiway and Mickael Barzalona see off Dubai Honour and James Doyle
Image: Dubai Honour (blue) finishes behind Sealiway in the Champion Stakes at Ascot

As a gelding, Dubai Honour could have a long career ahead of him, with his next start likely to be abroad.

"He's come such a long way, Dubai Honour. He was fourth in a soft ground nursery at York in October last year and while it was a little unfortunate, he wasn't desperately unlucky, so you couldn't envisage the progress he's made," said Haggas.

"I'm not trying to say I'm clever at all but that's the way we train them, to get them to improve - we nurse them at two to try to get them to get better as they get older.

"He's in the Bahrain race (Bahrain International Trophy) and I had hoped to go there to support it, but he had quite a hard race. He may not run anywhere and may be trained for Dubai.

"He's a gelding now so has no residual value apart from what he can win on the track. He's won some decent money already but Hong Kong is very valuable, so is Bahrain and so is Dubai - so they are the options for him."

Back to the drawing board with Al Aasy

Al Aasy ridden by Jim Crowley winsThe Al Rayyan Stakes during Al Shaqab Lockinge Day at Newbury Racecourse. Picture date: Saturday May 15, 2021.
Image: Al Aasy finished down the field in eighth in the Champion Stakes

As for his other two runners, Haggas said: "I don't know what happened with Al Aasy.

"He's fine but I thought it was tailor-made for him. Good gallop, soft ground but whether going right doesn't suit him, I don't know. He never travelled at all so it's back to the drawing board with him, he is a talented horse.

"As for Addeybb, he's now rising eight and simply needed a run which I couldn't get into him. At Ayr the forecast let me down when they said it wasn't going to rain and it did. It would have been a long way to go and not run. Then we wanted to run at Goodwood but it didn't rain and was too firm.

"We gave him a serious racecourse gallop at Newmarket which he had a good blow after, but it's not the same. He was just enthusiastic through the race and Adayar never left him alone.

"I need to discuss his plan with the owners. There's only one race left for him which is the Premio Roma in Italy and isn't very valuable, a Group Two race, but he might well run as we'll find out if he's as good as he was or if he's showing his age.

"No disrespect, but if he can't win that then he doesn't want to be flogging across the world to Australia. So while it wasn't my plan, he could go there."

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