The 2010 Flat season proved a very fruitful campaign for the Roger Varian-trained Laaheb, a horse who last term under the guidance of Varian’s predecessor Michael Jarvis won in listed company and then twice at Group 3 level, including the September Stakes at Kempton last autumn, writes Elliot Slater.
A return visit to the Sunbury track could well be on the cards later this season, the scene of the son of Cape Cross’ three-and-a-half-length success over lastyear’s Queen’s Vase winner Holberg which was followed by another sterling performance when he ran out a good winner of the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot on his final outing of the campaign. People looking at the Kempton odds should remember this.
Laaheb then ran the race of his life when returning after a six-month break he finished a tremendous fourth behind the ill-fated Rewilding in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan at the end of March after which it looked as though he was destined to possibly take his place in the starting line-up of some of the top middle-distance events around Europe. As so often happens in racing though, things haven’t gone quite as planned.
Only fifth of the six runners behind Dandino in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket at Newmarket at the end of April (when possibly not fully recovered from his Dubai exertions), Laaheb then ran significantly better after a seven-week break when fourth to Await The Dawn in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot but failed to build on that effort in being beaten more than 50-lengths behind Crystal Capella in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes on the July course a few weeks later.
Clearly his latest effort was too bad to be true and connections are hopeful that after another break the Hamdan al Makhtoum-owned five-year-old will show something approaching his old form if returning to Kempton, the scene of his most impressive victory of last term.