Ribchester bags another Group One in France

RICHARD FAHEY'S stable star Ribchester re-affirmed his status as Europe's top miler by winning the Group One Prix du Moulin at Chantilly.

The champion’s fourth victory at the highest level, the colt can also claim to be Yorkshire’s best Flat horse of the modern era after exceeding the three Group One wins accumulated by Alan Swinbank’s globetrotting Collier Hill.

In doing so, Ribchester showed great resolution to demonstrate that last month’s shock Sussex Stakes defeat at Goodwood was an aberration due to the heavy ground.

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As Robin Of Navan took the field along through the early stages, jockey James Doyle – deputising for regular rider William Buick who remains on the injury sidelines – bided his time.

Doyle, currently in a rich run of form, gradually wound up Ribchester before pressing on and passing Robin Of Navan entering the final quarter of a mile. Briefly Taareef and Christophe Soumillon covered the move, but they could not quite overhaul the Malton challenger.

As the chief protagonists pulled clear in the final furlong, Ribchester kept finding more under Doyle’s urgings.

Owned by Sheikh Mohammed, the four-year-old is now favourite for next month’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot where Ribchester will look to add to a big race tally that now includes last season’s Prix Jacques Le Marois and this year’s Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and Royal Ascot’s Queen Anne Stakes.

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Even though the ground was softer than ideal, Fahey’s relief was plain to see after the horse’s form on the gallops convinced him to go to Chantilly.

“It is just nice to see Ribchester win again. I was very happy with the victory,” said the victorious trainer. “He does not make it easy for his rider, but I think he gets bit lonely out in front.

“He was hardly blowing afterwards and has got a lot of ability. You never feel the tank is empty – he is a very tough horse. He coped with the soft ground but is better on a sounder surface. We will be aiming him towards the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot (on October 21) and then consider the Breeders’ Cup Mile in California two weeks after that.”

Possible rivals in the Breeders Cup Mile could include Decorated Knight who was a shock winner of the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown for trainer Roger Charlton and jockey Andrea Atzeni after Aidan O’Brien’s dual Guineas winner Churchill found trouble in running. The victor was unplaced in York’s Juddmonte International – testament to the strength of this year’s renewal on the Knavesmire.

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The Leopardstown meeting saw notable White Rose success courtesy of David O’Meara’s Suedois landing the Boomerang Stakes. The North Yorkshire trainer’s former landlord, Roger Fell, then won the Sovereign Path handicap with Burnt Sugar.

On a frenetic weekend of Flat racing across Europe, the John Gosden-trained Cracksman – winner of York’s Great Voltigeur Stakes – won the Prix Niel under Frankie Dettori.

However owner Anthony Opennheimer played down the prospect of Cracksman running in next month’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, not least because Dettori is committed to ride stablemate Enable who has won the Epsom, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks.

Oppenheimer, Gosden and Dettori won the 2015 Arc with Golden Horn.

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Wetherby’s feature Charlie Hall Chase on November 4 could be a target for Coneygree after the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero was ruled out of this week’s Kerry National at Listowel due to heavy ground.

Newbury’s Ladbrokes Trophy is the target, but connections want a prep race before contesting the historic handicap chase previously known as the Hennessy. Trainer Mark Bradstock’s wife Sara said: “There’s the 
JNwine at Down Royal and the Charlie Hall at Wetherby. There are also open handicaps at places like Chepstow, but we’d rather go for something valuable if we can.”

Tommy Taylor showcased his Ayr Gold Cup credentials by winning the feature Garrowby Stakes at York. The popular victory provided Barnsley owners Pete Tingey and Angie Bailey, as well as Hambleton trainer Kevin Ryan and jockey Tom Eaves, some compensation 24 hours after Brando’s unplaced effort in Haydock’s Sprint Cup.