Fahey and Burke happy to be saddled with favouritism

Richard Fahey believes Ribchester is a worthy favourite for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday week.
Ribchester ridden by William Buick (centre).Ribchester ridden by William Buick (centre).
Ribchester ridden by William Buick (centre).

The Godolphin-owned colt was third to Galileo Gold in the 2000 Guineas before winning the Jersey Stakes at the Royal meeting and finishing third in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

He hit the Group One target last time out in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, getting the better of Galileo Gold – who was disappointing on the day but is also set for Ascot – at the third time of asking.

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Ribchester went through his paces at Fahey’s Malton base yesterday and the trainer said: “We’re very happy with him and everything has gone smoothly.

“I suppose in the back of your mind you would be a little bit worried he has been on the go a long time, but he is showing no signs of that being the case.

“You never know at this time of year until they run, they do tend to lose their coats up here quicker than down south. But we have had horses winning who have gone in their coats.

“He’s strengthened up physically through the year, but it is the way he has improved mentally that has impressed me.

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“You’d have to say he’s the classiest horse I’ve trained so far, and I don’t often say this but I think the bookies have it right with him as favourite.”

Another Yorkshire-based horse to head to Champions Day with a favourite’s chance is Quiet Reflection, and trainer Karl Burke is not unduly worried that a few horses in his yard are coughing.

Victory for the flying filly in the Qipco British Champions Sprint would give her huge claims of being crowned champion sprinter and that would be no mean feat for a three-year-old considering the exploits of dual Nunthorpe heroine Mecca’s Angel and July Cup winner Limato.

If she is successful, it will be a third Group One success following on from the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and the Sprint Cup at Haydock.

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Her only defeat this term came in the July Cup at Newmarket on quick ground but as long as the ground is genuinely good at Ascot, Burke would have no complaints.

“We’ve had a few horses coughing in the yard and mine haven’t run that well in the last week,” said Burke. “However, I’m not worried about her. We’ve had her scoped and it was clean as a whistle.”