Though York might have toasted a more obviously local hero, had Hoof It won the Nunthorpe, perhaps not even Mick Easterby has a greater affinity for the place than the exile who came home to win two Group races at the Ebor meeting last week. For William Haggas, though long based in Newmarket, the success of Entifaadha and Green Destiny was especially sweet because of the soil under their feet.
"I do love going back to Yorkshire," Haggas stressed yesterday. "And feel very much at home there, despite having lived away the last 25 years. I vividly remember Wetherby on Boxing Day, every year as a little boy. They ran a memorial race for my grandfather there. You had to be there by 11am, or you'd miss the first two. I like a lot of the tracks up there, and you're made to feel very welcome. Mind you, it's bloody hard to have winners at York. You have to make sure you go there with the right horses."
And that is why last week represented rather more than a gratifying return of the native. As improvers who could yet break into the elite, Entifaadha and Green Destiny maintained the momentum of a season in which their trainer had already saddled his second Epsom Classic winner – from a career total of two runners.
Entifaadha built on his maiden success to beat a strong field in the Acomb Stakes, and will now step up a furlong at Newmarket on 24 September. "We're planning to go to the Royal Lodge now, though it will very much be Sheikh Hamdan's call," Haggas said. "To me, he outstayed them, and a mile will suit. If he won the Royal Lodge, he'd look very much the type for the Racing Post Trophy."
On the face of it, this colt's emergence bodes well for the rest of his juvenile team. "I've a few that go as well as him, though he's quite lazy and it doesn't mean they will go as well as him on the track," Haggas said. "But we're getting a different type of horse now, and I do have one or two nice, backward types to run this autumn. It's quite exciting."
Green Destiny may go to France for his next start, though he is also entered in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on 15 October. The Pride Stakes, on the same card, meanwhile beckons Dancing Rain, the Oaks winner, whose main target is the huge bonus won by Snow Fairy in Japan last autumn.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Escape To Glory (5.0 Lingfield) Looked well ahead of his mark when winning his first handicap round here and easily forgiven defeat in a messy race next time. Travels strongly and shorter distance looks sure to suit.
Chookie Avon (5.10 Carlisle) Has shaped well since joining his promising new trainer, but found a drop in trip against him at Hamilton on Monday. Return to this distance and stiff finish here can make the difference.
One to watch
Surrey Storm (Roger Teal) Is a daughter of Montjeu and merits attention after keeping on through traffic when fourth on her debut at Folkestone on Sunday.
Where the money's going
Poet's Voice is 5-2 from 3-1 with Coral for the Betfair Celebration Mile at Goodwood on Saturday.