There were tears in Paris last weekend when Sir Mark Prescott reached the pinnacle of his illustrious career by winning the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) with mountaineer and there was a similar outpouring of emotion towards jockey Robert Havlin as he finally claimed his first top-flight victory aboard Commissioning in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile in Newmarket (G1).
🗣️ “He’s my best friend and to see him win a Group 1 is great. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I’m so happy.” – @FrankieDettori
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) October 7, 2022
Derby-winning jockeys Adam Kirby and Richard Kingscote were among the riders who came out of the weigh-in room to cheer on Havlin, who was then mobbed by well-wishers and wrapped in a loving embrace by Frankie Dettori as the Newmarket crowd applauded the most deserved success of group 1.
“It’s a bit like Sir Mark’s Arc,” said John Gosden, the winner’s co-trainer and Havlin boss for many years. “For Robert, no one deserves this anymore.”
Gosden’s admiration and appreciation for the jockey, and the delight Havlin’s victory brought to his fellow riders, comes from recognition of the key role he played in the development and education of so many stars on the gallops home while others made headlines. on the course, be it Jimmy Fortune, William Buick or, more recently, Dettori.
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“He’s my best friend and to see him win a Group 1 is great,” said Dettori, who missed out on the win through suspension. “He works so hard. All the best horses I’ve ridden in my life, he groomed them for me and he finally got his awards, which is amazing.”
To make sure no nervousness got the better of him heading into his final shot in a Group 1, Havlin spent much of the day keeping busy and not letting his mind drift, especially since Laurel had come awfully close to winning the Royal Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes (G1) for him last week only to be narrowly beaten.
“We knew she was coming here with great luck and everyone was wishing me well today, but my focus has been on doing things to keep my mind busy,” Havlin said.
“It’s good to do that. Group 1 winners are hard to come by and I was thinking about that last week on Laurel. I got a great position, came in first at the right time and the other horse came back and beat me. I couldn’t believe it. When everything goes well and you get beat up, you wonder what more you can do.
“Frankie tends to leave nothing to chance when it comes to what he rides in a Group 1 either – and he’s not banned enough! I’m thrilled, but I don’t think this either. be really sunk.”
The king man the filly became unbalanced in the Dip – despite winning the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Rockfel Stakes (G2) over the past month – and only asserted herself in the final run to the line. She was down to 4-1 (from 6-1) to clinch the Qipco One Thousand Guineas (G1) next year for owners/breeders Isa Salman and Abdulla Al Khalifa.
“It’s only the third run of her career and she was off balance before the dive,” Havlin said. “She was quick to correct herself, and she was really strong at the end – I put my stick down for the last half yard, and she was really going on.
“She’s got a good spirit on her, she relaxes, then she’s in a rush to get on; I definitely think she’ll get 10 furlongs. With winter on her back, she’ll be a special filly next year.”
In all likelihood, it will be Dettori back on board Commissioning when she lines up in the Guineas, but that didn’t bother Havlin one bit as he lifted the large glass trophy presented to him for the victory at the above his head.
“I’ll fill it with champagne later!” beamed the horseman.