The Rab Havlin Blog

It’s winner after winner at present for FansBet Racing ambassador Rab Havlin. The star jockey takes time out from a packed schedule to offer his thoughts on Saturday’s feature races at Newbury.
Rab Havlin  |  20th September 2019

I’d be misleading you if I said it’s been anything other than a cracking couple of weeks in the saddle.

Heading into today (Friday) my strike-rate is a healthy 29% for the past fortnight, helped massively by consecutive doubles, both at Yarmouth, on Wednesday and Thursday.

Naturally it helps when you’re consistently getting on such good horses, all of them fantastically prepared and looked after.

For that I have to thank all the team back at the yard, plus of course Mr Gosden himself who has been in great form, and I know got a big kick from our stable stars such as Stradivarius and Logician delivering handsomely at Doncaster last week.

It’s lovely to be going racing today knowing four of my last five mounts have won, but in many ways it’s a good demonstration of the way a season can work.

Mercifully I’ve stayed injury free since a long enough absence in the winter, though I did have one suspension to deal with plus a spell where I was riding stacks of placed horses but not many winners.

In some ways that enforced suspension break, when I got to take the family for a quick spin to Spain to get some sunshine and recharge the batteries, has been the making of the latter stages of the campaign.

I’m feeling good and fresh and thoroughly enjoying my riding, combined with a policy I’ve alluded to the last two weeks in my FansBet blog, namely of being a shade more selective and trying to go for quality over quantity.

Anyway, of this week’s winners I’ll make a special mention of Fanny Logan who took the listed fillies’ stakes over a mile and a quarter at Yarmouth on Wednesday. By Sea The Stars, I’m lucky enough to have won on her all three times I’ve ridden her.

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She’s a classy filly and picked up well, just like she did at Salisbury the time before, but this was a step up on that. She enjoyed the Good to Firm ground and this looks her trip for now. The great thing is the boss never ties you to orders but I was able to slot in three wide early and then two wide going around the bend. In the end she won readily and I hope can go on to be Group class. We’ll see.

Looking ahead, it’s another big weekend for the Flat racing community given on Saturday we’ve got the Ayr Gold cup happening up in Scotland plus the Mill Reef Stakes on a good card at Newbury.

It’ll be Newbury for yours truly where I’ve got rides in six of the eight races. Of my six definitely worth a mention is Waldstern, a tough competitor who goes in the mile and three furlongs Group 3 at 2.20pm.

Wearing a visor for the first time he improved massively to win for me in a handicap at Newmarket last time out, a victory achieved off a rating of 96. He’s now up to a figure of 106 and I’m sure there’s improvement in him, but to win this he’ll have to overcome the very much in-form Desert Encounter.

David Simcock’s horse is a seven year old and comes into this wily, experienced and off the back of a pair of Group 3 successes. He has to give us nine pounds but is a prolific winner and won’t be easy to get the better of.

The other one of mine I want to mention is Forest Of Dean in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap at 3.30pm.

This lad is by Iffraaj and gave me a lovely spin when winning at Doncaster in April. Since then he’s really flourished, carrying Harry Bentley to victory at Glorious Goodwood before Frankie won on him at York last month. Clearly he’s thriving and has been progressive through the summer, though he’ll need to improve again because the handicapper put him up 10 for winning at York.

However, in his favour here is that he runs off his old rating but with a five pound penalty, so if the assessor is right he’s five pounds ‘well in’. The ground is Good at present at Newbury which will be more to his liking than the fast ground last time at York. If it stays that way Forest Of Dean is my best chance of a Saturday winner.

Lastly, one of the two races I’ll be watching in the weighing room as opposed to riding in is the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes at 2.55pm. Were a spare ride to materialise I’d be chuffed if it happened to be on Roger Varian’s runner Pierre Lapin.

He was well backed to win first time up at Haydock Park in May and duly delivered in impressive fashion. With natural improvement he looks one to stay on the right side of.

Tom Lee

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