Havlin pounces late to land the Henry II Stakes on Sweet William

Robert Havlin produced Sweet William to perfection to land the Group 3 Chasemore Farm Henry II Stakes at Sandown on Thursday evening.

SWEET WILLIAM winning the Henry II Stakes at Sandown in Esher, England.
SWEET WILLIAM winning the Henry II Stakes at Sandown in Esher, England. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The John and Thady Gosden-trained five-year-old finished one spot behind the reopposing Caius Chorister when third in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes on his reappearance at Ascot earlier in the month.

However, a combination of the first-time visor and more patient riding tactics would see Sweet William gain revenge on his Sandown debut.

The 15/8 favourite Caius Chorister and Trueshan (5/1) locked horns up the Sandown straight but as the latter backed out of proceedings, recent Group 1 winning jockey Robert Havlin was ready to pounce on Sweet William, who eased his way into contention with a furlong to travel.

Havlin, who looked wary not to get to the front too soon on the 5/2 second favourite, nursed his mount upsides David Menuisier's charge before delivering Sweet William to perfection on the line.

The winning margin was a head, with Alan King's Trueshan finishing a further six lengths back in third. Chesspiece (4/1) faded tamely for Simon and Ed Crisford, failing to beat a rival home.

"He didn't really travel for most of the race, but the further we went, the more he came on the bridle," said the winning rider.

"We put a visor on him today just to switch things up and it was a reversal with Caius Chorister from last time when she pounced on me. I was able to keep an eye on everything in the race from where I was.

"He's a hard horse to get there late because he's not really got that much of a turn of foot, so I don't know how much he's actually had in the tank there but he's very talented and he got the job done.

"I think the further he goes, the better he goes. He's untested beyond two miles but for me, I definitely think he'll get two and a half miles."

The winner was slashed to 14/1 from 40's for the Gold Cup at Ascot by Paddy Power, with connections of the runner-up also keen to have a crack at the royal meeting.

"She ran a really good race, she nearly won – she didn't, but it doesn't matter," said trainer David Menuisier.

"It's a prep race for bigger things down the line. To me, she's better on quicker ground than this sort of ground, especially at this level because it really tests her stamina.

"I am delighted, she really belongs here. People were doubting her which they are allowed to, I think she put them straight this time around."

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