WILLIAM Haggas reckons it’s about time he won his second Derby.
The top trainer bagged the Epsom Classic 25 years ago with 12-1 shot Shaamit.
A quarter of a century later, he returns with perhaps his best chance since in the shape of the exciting Mohaafeth.
He grinned: “Shaamit was 25 years ago – I didn’t have any grey hair then but I’ve got plenty now.
“People joke and say Shaamit winning the Derby is all I talk about, so I best win it again to give me something new to talk about.”
Mohaafeth is unbeaten in three starts this year and entered the Cazoo Derby picture after a five-length romp at Newmarket on May 1.
Coral make him a 7-1 chance, with just the Irish trio of Bolshoi Ballet (7-4), High Definition (4-1) and Mac Swiney (6-1) ahead of him in the betting.
Big-race jock Jim Crowley put him through his paces on Wednesday morning and returned to Haggas’ stables very pleased.
Haggas said: “He’s in very good form – Jim came and rode him on the Rowley Mile and was delighted with him.
“He worked with two very smart older horses and worked beautifully. We will just take it nice and easy between now and next Saturday.
“He has a lot of ability but he is a good ground horse, so I’m hoping the weather warms up next week.
“I think he will stay the Derby trip, whether he improves for the extra couple of furlongs we will find out on the day.
“But there is no better race in the world to find out than the Derby.”
And as for the unique test posed by the undulating track at Epsom, Haggas has taken heart from something his father-in-law Lester Piggott once told him.
He said: “Of course the track is a worry – and you don’t know until it happens.
“But I think he’s got a bit of speed, and Lester always used to say you need speed from the top of the gate to get in a position that allows you to amble around the corner, so that will help him.
“Hopefully he gets a middle draw, so Jim can get a good position. The requirements haven’t changed – it’s still a big test.
“The staff are a little bit more edgy – you try to appear cool. Ed Dunlop (trainer of John Leeper) is a classic case as he walks round very calm, but he’s like a duck – underneath his legs will be going like the clappers, like all of us.
“He’ll be tense, because it’s our biggest race. We’re lucky to have contenders in the biggest races, but there ain’t one like the Derby.”
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