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Rab Havlin celebrates first Group 1 victory with Commissioning in Fillies' Mile at Newmarket's Rowley Mile





After a career spanning 31 years jockey Rab Havlin celebrated his first Group 1 success last Friday when he partnered Commissioning to victory in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.

Popular Havlin, who is based in Kirtling just outside of HQ, has had some top level near misses in seasons gone by – including just last week when he was pipped on Laurel in the Royal Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes.

But he finally got off the mark on day one of the Dubai Future Champions Festival at the Rowley Mile, stepping up in the absence of the suspended Frankie Dettori to pilot the John and Thady Gosden-trained two-year-old to win by a length from Novakai.

Rab Havlin won his first Group 1 race after more than three decades as a jockey. Picture: Mark Westley
Rab Havlin won his first Group 1 race after more than three decades as a jockey. Picture: Mark Westley

The 48-year-old jockey said: “We got there in the end! Frankie needs to get banned more! She gave me a worrying moment going into the dip when she got a bit unbalanced but God once she hit the rising ground – she was taking off at the line.

“I’m feeling elated and I don’t think it will sink in until I get home. I knew she had a hot chance but they have still got to come here and do it. She just gave me a worrying moment when she came into the dip and got a little bit unbalanced but she is an intelligent filly and she was able to correct herself. In the last half a furlong she done nothing but quicken so she has all the attributes to be proper good next year.

“I just tried to fill my mind with different things and I didn’t really think about it and everyone was wishing me good luck. I had a plan in my head and changed that about three times before I went out there and I thought I will see what happens when I come out the stalls as I didn’t want to be a prisoner to any plan. You feel a little bit of pressure but once the stalls open everything goes out of your head.

Rab Havlin salutes the crowd after his win on Commissioning. Picture: Mark Westley
Rab Havlin salutes the crowd after his win on Commissioning. Picture: Mark Westley

“She has got the mind. She is racy in the mornings but only before she goes on the canter but when sets about her work she is quite professional. She is pretty push button in her race and you would say she definitely stays 10 at least. I had been riding her in the mornings and we knew she was pretty special.

“I was thinking that last week on Laurel (that a Group 1 might never come). Everything worked out like clockwork. I hit the front and something came and nabbed me. It was just one of those things. Anyway we have got one now.”

The banned Dettori was at the course to watch his friend and weighing room colleague’s moment of history, and the Italian said: “He is my best friend and to see him win a Group 1 is great. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I’m so pleased.

“He puts in so much hard work. All the best horses I’ve ridden in my life he has prepared for me and he has finally got his rewards which is amazing. One hundred per cent there would have been a lot of nerves.

A delighted Frankie Dettori plants a kiss on his good friend's cheek. Picture: Mark Westley
A delighted Frankie Dettori plants a kiss on his good friend's cheek. Picture: Mark Westley

“I didn’t want to interfere with him today. I just saw him in the paddock and wished him good luck. He was second last week on Laurel where he came so close. It is very important for a jockey and he is 48 and he is not young so to get to an opportunity like this and put it to bed and win his first Group 1 at Newmarket near where he lives is amazing.”

Triumphant joint trainer Thady Gosden said added: “Rab is a huge part of the team at the yard. Everyone loves him and you couldn’t get a better man. Everyone is thrilled for him as has finally won a Group One and no one deserves it more.

“William (Buick) is an exceptional rider and he got her (Novakai) rolling. Last time the ground was a little bit better than today and when it is quick here they can hit a ridge or two then they become unbalanced and start hitting everyone.

“Rab got her very well balanced and luckily she stayed on up the hill and her class came through.

“She always showed the odd flash off talent at home but you don’t like to ask them too much there but she has always looked a nice filly going forward.

“When she ran at Newmarket we weren’t quite expecting her to first time out how she did. We thought she would run a nice race and put the afterburners on and stretched clear in the last furlong. The plan since then has been to achieve some Group race form which she has surpassed.

“She is obviously a filly that has got plenty of speed being by Kingman but her mother is by Galileo and she stayed well. We will have to see how she is in the spring and how she is training but she is a filly you would look towards a race like that (Guineas) for.

After the win bookmakers cut Commissioning’s odds to win next year’s QIPCO 1,000 Guineas from 6/1 to 4/1.