Dubai: Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s bright yellow silks fluttered gloriously at Randwick on Saturday as Addeybb turned in a gritty performance under Tom Marquand to successfully defend his Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes title.
In the process of winning, the Britain-based William Haggas-trained seven-year-old Pivotal gelding avenged his defeat by supermare Verry Elleegant in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill on 27 March.
Addeybb and Verry Elleegant have quite a rivalry going Down Under with the former thwarting the latter’s charge in both aforementioned races last year. Chris Waller’s Verry Elleegant was able to pull one back in the Ranvet which she won by a length, but Addeybb and Marquand were at their very best in the 2,000m turf contest, which attracted a field of seven.
Verry Elleegant had to be restrained by James McDonald in the early stages as she showed extreme keenness to go forward and set the pace. McDonald held her back and kept her mid-division, as Dalasan set the pace under Kerrin McEvoy.
Marquand kept Addeybb, running for the first time with blinkers, in a good position all along just off the pace on the outside. The Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes winning pair started to build up momentum hitting the final 400m and as the track straightened Marquand started to ride hard with Addeybb responding immediately and Verry Elleegant too picking up.
Marquand and his partner though, were flying and though Verry Elleegant came hard at them they showed enough muscle to power on to a half length victory, with Dalasan finishing a head behind in third. It was Addeybb’s fourth triumph at the top level.
An overjoyed Marquand said: “Last year was incredible, but I couldn’t help but think what a shame it was for everyone to win a race of this magnitude with no crowd. I thought I was unlucky, but now I realise I’m twice as lucky. What a phenomenal bid from William Haggas to bring him back down here. I’m not going to lie, at points I was sceptical as many were. All I can say is thank you, it’s been incredible.
“I was completely unaware of which horses were where, all I could feel was that they were pushing me to the line. If ever there’s a horse to have at the 200m [pole] in a scrap, it’s him. Genuinely, this is the closest I’ve been to tears for a very, very long time — and I’m not all that old. It’s been pretty tough being away from home for a few months but I’d do it ten times over for a moment like that.”