RICHARD FAHEY hopes a prep run – and the deployment of a pacemaker – can help stable star Ribchester win today’s Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
The colt – one of the most consistent milers in the country – also renews rivalry with last year’s 2000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold.
The pair clashed four times last season, with Ribchester’s finest hour coming when winning the Prix du Jacques Le Marois at Deauville under big race jockey William Buick.
With owners Godolphin – Sheikh Mohammed’s racing operation – running the pacemaker Toscanini in the hope Ribchester settles, and does not use up excess energy in the early stages of the race, hopes are high for a Yorkshire win.
Unlike the Hugo Palmer-trained Galileo Gold who is making his seasonal reappearance, Ribchester was third in the Dubai Turf at the end of March and Malton-based Fahey is relishing the return to Newbury where his charge won the prestigious Mill Reef Stakes as a juvenile before landing Royal Ascot’s Jersey Stakes last season.
“Everything has gone according to plan with Ribchester –there have been no issues,” said the trainer.
“I am very happy – his work is good and he is good. I don’t think the ground will bother him so we are comfortable going into the race. Toscanini is running to make sure they go a gallop and he seems to do that job well. We gave him a run at Doncaster and then went to France to lead one of Andre Fabre’s.
“Ribchester won the Mill Reef and it was quite heavy that day so this probably won’t be the softest ground he has raced on. Physically he looks better this year – he has done real well since coming back from Dubai and physically he is starting to mature. We are happy and everything is going easy with him.”
Meanwhile Fahey is considering the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot for Queen Kindly after deciding sprinting is her game following her run in the 1000 Guineas.
The winner of last year’s Lowther Stakes at York, she had her stamina limitations exposed in the fillies’ Classic at Newmarket where she weakened at the business end to finish ninth to Winter. “We gave it a go. She didn’t stay. She’ll go back to sprinting now,” he said.
SHEIKH Mohammed has given the go ahead to Permian being supplemented for the Epsom Derby a fortnight today after the Yorkshire horse dug deepest of all to win Thursday’s Dante Stakes at York.
Trained by Middleham’s Mark Johnston, Permian’s first prize of £105,000 will more than cover the cost of making a late entry for Flat racing’s most celebrated contest.
“It sounds a lot of money, but in terms of what he’s won here and from a bloodstock perspective it is worth it,” said the prolific Johnston who, surprisingly, will be having his first Derby runner since the free-running Mister Baileys finished fourth to Erhaab in 1994.
“Also, we have so many well-bred horses we tend to do it this way rather than enter them all early. When they win like that the decision is easy. In the Dante you find out if you’re a Derby horse and we’ve got one.”
This year’s Derby appears even more open after it emerged that the unbeaten Churchill, winner of this month’s 2000 Guineas, is likely to run in next weekend’s Irish equivalent according to trainer Aidan O’Brien.