Feature Story

Zagato & Callan headline huge day for Al Haddad

Zagato & Callan headline huge day for Al Haddad Mar 17, 2022

FRIDAY’S £140,000 His Majesty The King’s Cup, over 2400m at Sakhir in Bahrain, was won stylishly by Zagato who powered clear of his rivals for trainer Hesham Al Haddad who actually saddled the first five home, as well as a quintet of winners on the card. It was a dominant performance from the 5yo gelded son of Frankel, who built on easy success in the final Bahrain Turf Series race to land the honours in a race recognised internationally as a Listed contest.

His jockey Neil Callan even had time to wave to the crowd in the final 100m having put the race to bed with a decisive move in the straight. Encourage under Jimmy Quinn and Adrie de Vries aboard Tawaareq finished second and third respectively. Hesham Al Haddad operates from the internationally successful Fawzi Nass stable and afterwards Nass said: “Zagato is a ‘running machine’.

If he keeps doing that, he’s a proper racehorse. He’s well bred so he is supposed to do what he’s done today. We’ll have to give some thought to where we go next. He definitely showed there that he is the number one.” Neil Callan has enjoyed a stellar debut season in the saddle in Bahrain and is the leading jockey for the season.

He said: “The 2400m is a distance that not many of the horses have been over before but this horse is so uncomplicated. He ran a very good race when he was third on his first start in Bahrain, but he just wasn’t quite there. From that race onwards he’s just improved.

After he finished second to Classical Wave I rode him in work the following week and it was like riding a new horse, he’d just improved so much. That just gave me confidence. “He just has everything. He relaxes, he stays, he has a turn of foot. Today the pace was quite relentless for a long way so I was happy to take my time.

Fawzi, Hesham and their team are just the best operation to ride for and you can’t ask for much more than that.” Callan has been retained for the season by HH Shaikh Sultan Al Deen bin Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa’s Al Mohamediya Racing operation. The jockey added: “HH Shaikh Sultan puts a lot of effort into it, he’s a very knowledgeable owner.

It’s amazing to be part of the team. I’d never been here before. “I knew about Fawzi Nass and I knew about a few of the other owners. I’d seen Shaikh Sultan’s horses running in England. I had one ride for him in the summer at Newmarket when he was there and we were introduced to each other.

He seemed a very pleasant, easy going guy. “The first thing he said to me when I came to Bahrain was that he’s a very good loser and that’s all I needed to hear. He takes the rough with the smooth and gives you every confidence to go out and ride.”