By Graham Clark
After a career spanning some 31 years, popular jockey Rab Havlin finally enjoyed success at the very highest level when partnering Commissioning to victory in the Group One bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket on day one of the 2022 Dubai Future Champions Festival.
Having made a winning debut under Frankie Dettori on the July Course, the two year old daughter of Kingman, who is trained by John and Thady Gosden, had been partnered to Group Two success by Havlin a fortnight ago in the Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Rockfel Stakes.
Enjoy a full replay of the 2022 bet365 Fillies' Mile
Returned the 8-13 market-leader, Abdulla Al-Khalifa and Issa Salman’s homebred filly had to work hard to overhaul long-time leader Novakai inside the final furlong before going on to score by a length.
Speaking to ITV Racing, 48-year-old Havlin said: “We got there in the end! Frankie needs to get banned more!
“She gave me a worrying moment going into the dip when she got a bit unbalanced but God once she hit the rising ground – she was taking off at the line.
“She is still some way from being the finished article mentally. Although she got unbalanced running into the dip, she got herself out of trouble and is quite intelligent.
“She has got the tactical speed for a Guineas and also stays very well. Her mother only had two starts and I rode her on both occasions. Her second start was the Ribblesdale when she was green but stayed on well so was going to be OK over a mile and a half and this filly has the right mind to get a bit of a trip.”
"Relief!" - Rab Havlin reflects on winning his first Group One
Applauded by many members of the weighing room as he entered the winner’s enclosure, Havlin went on to explain the significance of the occasion.
He continued: “I’m feeling elated and I don’t think it will sink in until I get home. I knew she had a hot chance but they have still got to come here and do it. She just gave me a worrying moment when she came into the dip and got a little bit unbalanced but she is an intelligent filly and she was able to correct herself. In the last half a furlong she done nothing but quicken so she has all the attributes to be proper good next year.
“I just tried to fill my mind with different things and I didn’t really think about it and everyone was wishing me good luck. I had a plan in my head and changed that about three times before I went out there and I thought I will see what happens when I come out the stalls as I didn’t want to be a prisoner to any plan. You feel a little bit of pressure but once the stalls open everything goes out of your head.
“I was reading the comments the trainers about their horses and Karl Burke said his filly was going to be a mile and a half filly so I thought they were going to use a good draw and go forward. When they jumped and there was two groups I thought I would stick to William and hopefully he would take me the furthest and thankfully he did and that was one right move I made and I let her do the rest.
“I rode her mother on both starts at Salisbury first time up and the second time up in the Ribblesdale. She was green that day but she got the hang of things and stayed on well the last furlong and a half.
“She has got the mind. She is racy in the mornings but only before she goes on the canter but when sets about her work she is quite professional. She is pretty push button in her race and you would say she definitely stays 10 at least.
“I had been riding her in the mornings (before her debut) and we knew she was pretty special.
“I was thinking that last week on Laurel (that a Group One might never come). Everything worked out like clockwork. I hit the front and something came and nabbed me. It was just one of those things. Anyway we have got one now.”
Paying tribute to his colleague, Frankie Dettori said: “He is my best friend and to see him win a Group One is great. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I’m so pleased.
“He puts in so much hard work. All the best horses I’ve ridden in my life he has prepared for me and he has finally got his rewards which is amazing. One hundred per cent there would have been a lot of nerves. I didn’t want to interfere with him today. I just saw him in the paddock and wished him good luck. He was second last week on Laurel where he came so close.
“It is very important for a jockey and he is 48 and he is not young so to get to an opportunity like this and put it to bed and win his first Group One at Newmarket near where he lives is amazing.”
Joint-trainer Thady Gosden said: “Rab is a huge part of the team at the yard. Everyone loves him and you couldn’t get a better man. Everyone is thrilled for him as has finally won a Group One and no one deserves it more.
“William (Buick) is an exceptional rider and he got her (Novakai) rolling. Last time the ground was a little bit better than today and when it is quick here they can hit a ridge or two then they become unbalanced and start hitting everyone.
“Rab got her very well balanced and luckily she stayed on up the hill and her class came through.
“She always showed the odd flash off talent at home but you don’t like to ask them too much there but she has always looked a nice filly going forward.
“When she ran at Newmarket we weren’t quite expecting her to first time out how she did. We thought she would run a nice race and put the afterburners on and stretched clear in the last furlong.
“The plan since then has been to achieve some Group race form which she has surpassed.
“She is obviously a filly that has got plenty of speed being by Kingman but her mother is by Galileo and she stayed well. We will have to see how she is in the spring and how she is training but she is a filly you would look towards a race like that (Guineas) for.
“They (both her and Inspiral) are very classy fillies but they are slightly different types. I think it is probably unfair to compare them at this point but both of them by this stage of their careers have done nothing wrong and everything right.”
Betfair/Paddy Power make Commissioning 4-1 (from 6-1) for the 2023 QIPCO 1000 Guineas.
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