RICHARD Fahey reports Birchwood to be in prime shape for his assault on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland tonight.
The Dark Angel colt, owned by Godolphin, will be the Malton handler’s first runner at America’s world championships and he could not be happier with the condition of the two-year-old who came to prominence when winning newmarket’s informative Superlative Stakes in the summer.
Though there are doubts about Birchwood staying the mile, Fahey believes the track should suit him.
“Birchwood travelled over to Keeneland well and has settled in nicely,” said Fahey who recently saddled his 200th winner of the campaign.
“There has to be a question mark over whether he’ll stay a mile at this stage of his career, but he would have a chance of doing so around two turns.
“He’s a very good two-year-old and looks to be in really good form.”
With James Doyle on Birchwood, William Buick partners Godolphin’s Cymric who ran a tremendous race when only beaten a neck in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp earlier this month.
Fahey is not the only Yorkshire trainer breaking new ground at the Breeders’ Cup – Nawton-based David O’Meara saddles Mondialiste in tomorrow’s Breeders’ Cup Mile.
He will be ridden by The Yorkshire Post’s guest columnist Danny Tudhope.
Meanwhile Aidan O’Brien’s dual Guineas winner Gleneagles familiarised himself with the dirt at Keeneland yesterday morning in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday night.
The colt, bitterly disappointing in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot nearly two weeks ago, will be heading into the unknown as he races on the surface for the first time and also tackles a mile and a quarter.
Gleneagles was partnered by the trainer’s son Joseph who said: “I think we’ll know after a couple of furlongs; if he’s travelling and happy he’s in with a shout.”
Coneygree looks set to make his seasonal reappearance in the 188Bet Future Stars Chase at Sandown on November 8 rather than the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle on Sunday.
Connections are leaning towards giving their stable star his first run of the campaign nearer home, as long as conditions are suitable at the Surrey venue.
If that goes well, trainer Mark Bradstock will prepare Coneygree for the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on November 28, which his half-brother Carruthers won in 2011
“He is more likely to go to Sandown. Ground permitting, we’ll head there,” said Bradstock. “He’s in very good form.”
Longstanding Middleham trainer George Moore, who has saddled more than 900 winners, is set to retire.
The 63-year-old said he does not intend to renew his licence next January and cited a dwindling number of horses.
“The margins are getting tighter and tighter, and over the next few years I can’t see them picking up,” he told The Racing Post.
Although he has just over 20 horses at present, Moore will be remembered for his Northumberland Plate triumphs with Highflying and Toldo.