With two geldings in the race today, William Haggas is going all-out to be the first back-to-back winning trainer of the Listed Rockingham Stakes, in the 2.05 at York today.
The Rockingham Stakes is a tough one to win. Just a quick glance down the honours board for the race reveals that no trainer, or jockey for that matter, has been able to secure consecutive winners.
In 2021, Haggas won the race with his filly Canonized, who ran on bravely to defeat Witch Hunter in a tight finish.
Alpha Capture, currently leading the market, is Haggas’ best hope of achieving this unprecedented double. And, if Alpha Capture does come home victorious, it will make Tom Marquand the first jockey to win back-to-back Rockinghams.
Alpha Capture (9/4) “Off the mark at Carlisle in August and stepped up significantly on that form when just failing to land a valuable event at Doncaster (6.5f, good) since. Holds strong claims.” – Racing TV
Kyeema, the mount of Daniel Tudhope, is Haggas’ other runner in the race. Largely written off by the form guides, “in a stronger contest now and drop in trip not guaranteed to suit,” Kyeema is a course winner, admittedly over the longer trip of 7f.
Bay of Plenty and Bolt Action, are the key rivals on paper. Bay of Plenty won a maiden at Naas at the first time of asking 23 days ago and has the potential to put a spanner in the works of the Haggas machine.
Roger Varian’s colt Bolt Action has gained plenty of experience as a 2-year-old, that will stand him in good stead today.
Whilst the honours board would welcome another two-time winner to join the likes of Mike Channon, Mark Johnston, and Tim Easterby who has won the race three times (2012, 2014, 2018), Haggas will no doubt relish the challenge in his own inimitable and understated style.