RICHARD FAHEY paid tribute to “superstar” horse Ribchester after settling for fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar on Saturday.
World Approval repelled the strong European challenge to lift the title, with Aidan O’Brien’s Lancaster Bomber second under Seamie Heffernan, with Blackjackcat third and Suedois a highly creditable fourth for David O’Meara and Danny Tudhope.
Much attention surrounded the likes of Fahey’s Ribchester and Aidan O’Brien’s Roly Poly, but neither were able to get in a really serious blow on the winner, although the former was just out of the places and the latter came home well.
Ribchester came home fifth and Yorkshire-based trainer Fahey said of the four-time Group One winner, who now heads for retirement: “Horses like this don’t come along very often, he’s been a wonderful racehorse and this was the place to bring him for his last run.
“He just didn’t come home as strongly as he usually does, but I can’t blame anything to do with the draw or the track as the race went to plan and I was delighted where he was until turning for home.
“He’s an absolute superstar, a wonderful horse to us and the Godolphin team. He’s tough, very quick and I’m sure he’ll make a super stallion.
He’s an absolute superstar, a wonderful horse to us and the Godolphin team. He’s tough, very quick and I’m sure he’ll make a super stallion.Ribchester trainer, Richard Fahey
“Godolphin are very sporting and left it to me (whether to run). There’s a little regret, as it’s the first time he’s been out of the money all year. It’s about winning, but he’ll make a fantastic stallion.”
Jockey William Buick, who struck earlier on the card with Wuheida, said: “It would have been wonderful to top what has been a wonderful day for me on this horse, as I owe him so much, but at the business end of the race he didn’t seem to have his usual kick.
“He’s been a fantastic horse, Richard and the team have trained him so well. It would have been nice to go out on a high today, we were on the tail of the winner, but he didn’t quite travel like I wanted him to, although he still ran a huge race.
“It was a complete blanket for the placings and he was only in the QEII two weeks ago. The horse has done nothing wrong, it’s the first time he’s run two turns and he’s never run a bad race in his life.
“He has to be a champion.”
O’Brien said of Lancaster Bomber: “He ran a great race, he’s very comfortable at a mile on fast ground. He’s a proven traveller, having run well at this meeting a year ago, and he’s come home as strongly as anything. He’s a very good colt.”
Elsewhere, Gun Runner produced a stunning front-running performance to run out a convincing winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, French master Andre Fabre bagged a Breeders’ Cup winner with Talismanic claiming the Turf.