TWO-AND-A-BIT times around the saucer to win the cup.
That’s the task awaiting two runners from the Richard Fahey stable in this week’s Chester Cup on the tightest oval track in Britain as the Malton trainer bids to emulate his extraordinary achievement of 12 months ago.
Address Unknown and Ingleby Spirit, who were separated by half a length, provided Fahey with a memorable one-two in last year’s historic feature, which is staged over an extended two-and-a-quarter miles.
Dr Marwan Koukash, owner of Address Unknown, this time has his colours carried by both Fahey’s runners - Angel Gabrial and Duke Of Clarence – in a race which Koukash prides beyond most others.
In Angel Gabrial, he has a horse who comes into battle on the back of a splendid win in a valuable handicap at Ripon, which proved his ability to stay two miles. That success has earned him a 3lb penalty and Jamie Spencer takes the ride.
David Nolan, seen to such good effect on Angel Gabrial last time, and successful for the stable on Right Touch at Doncaster on Saturday evening, now teams up with Duke Of Clarence, who will be making his first appearance for Fahey.
Bought out of Richard Hannon’s stable earlier this year with the Chester Cup in mind, the five-year-old has made his target race.
All that remains now is to view the outcome. Another one-two for Fahey might be asking the impossible, but it promises to be thrilling stuff as the 17-strong field run more than two circuits of the Chester circuit.
A prestigious cup and £120,000 in prize money is up for grabs, not to mention a 50lb slab of Cheshire cheese to each of the winning connections. The race will be televised live on Channel 4 at 2.45pm today. (Wednesday).
• NOT content with riding a double at Newmarket on Sunday, which included a runaway success on the John Gosden-trained Taghrooda, who duly booked her Classic ticket next month’s Oaks, for which she is now quoted at only 3-1, Paul Hanagan followed up with a sensational five-timer at Warwick on Bank Holiday Monday.
The former Malton-based champion jockey was in unstoppable form as he dominated the Warwick card and his five winners included one on Ixelles Diamond for his old boss, Richard Fahey, who doubled up on the day with Clouds Rest, a narrow winner at Beverley under Tony Hamilton.
• RYEDALE jockey Jimmy Sullivan is enjoying the time of his life.
Having clinched the biggest win of his career at Musselburgh last month when winning the £50,000 Royal Mile on Bilimbi on his first mount for Newmarket trainer William Haggas, Sullivan has since continued in unstoppable form.
Not only has he rattled up a hat-trick of wins for Stillington trainer Ruth Carr on the rejuvenated Victoire De Lyphar, he won the Thirsk Hunt Cup last Saturday for Carr on Fort Bastion.
“Jimmy is riding with a lot of confidence and gave him a great ride,” said Carr, who was thrilled to bag the showpiece race at her local track.
“I’ve been coming to Thirsk for many years and the Hunt Cup is a race I’ve always wanted to win,” she added.
Sullivan continued to ride the crest of a wave at Hamilton 24 hours later when winning on Economic Crisis for Alan Berry.
• WHAT a difference a week makes. Paddy Mathers had not ridden a winner this season before scoring on Tagtale for his boss Richard Fahey at Redcar last Thursday, but before the week was out, he followed up on 18-1 winner Tiger Lilly at Thirsk on Saturday and Busy Bimbo, who prevailed at no less than 40-1 at Hamilton on Sunday.
It was hardly surprising that Busy Bimbo was returned at such long odds. The Alan Berry-trained sprinter had previously run 56 times without winning a single race. The in-form Mathers put an end to that depressing sequence in sterling fashion.
• RYEDALE apprentices are going extra-strong at present and the past week has seen another batch of winners for the jockeys of the future.
Jason Hart, last season’s champion apprentice, is plainly in no mood to relinquish his crown without a fight.
The Malton rider, having ridden a powerful race to score on Mark Walford’s Sirpertan at Newcastle early last week, teamed up with his Sledmere boss Declan Carroll to win on Lastchancelucas at Thirsk on Saturday, a victory which gave the teenager a real thrill.
“He’s a horse I’ve always had a lot of time for and he’s typical of those horses who had a good two-year-old campaign and then found it hard at three after being given a high rating,” explained Hart after taking his seasonal tally into double figures.
“He’s four now and is back on a good mark and he did it well. He just loves to be in among horses and have a battle.”
Rachel Richardson, after two valuable wins on Fast Shot for her boss Tim Easterby, has added a third notable success to her tally.
The 7lb claimer won on Maven in the feature race at Pontefract last week to already equal her total score for the whole of last season.
“She likes a strong gallop and when the pace dropped about half a mile out, I decided to let her go on,” explained Richardson. “She stuck to it really well. I can’t believe how well things are going this season.”
Easterby is likewise enjoying a purple patch. His winners last week also included 20-1 shot Election Night at Redcar, Choisan at Musselburgh and Azagal, who confirmed her juvenile prowess with a good win at Doncaster on Saturday evening.
Megan Carberry is another Ryedale apprentice making a good impression. This is her first season in Britain after transferring from her native Ireland and her fortunes have soared since joining Brian Ellison’s Norton yard.
Having scored on Ever Fortune at Pontefract last week, a victory which put her in a clear lead already in the current Go Racing In Yorkshire Future Stars Apprentice Series, Carberry followed up on another Ellison horse, Full Day, at Beverley on Monday.
George Chaloner was another local apprentice to shine over the Bank Holiday weekend. The 3lb claimer rode a power-packed finish to gain a slender win on Khelman for his boss, Richard Fahey, in the sprint handicap at Hamilton.
“He was very game and the (softish) ground helped him because I was at him the whole way, but I thought I had just got up,” said Chaloner after his short-head victory.
• MICK EASTERBY’S announcement last autumn that he was considering handing over his licence to son David in 2014 has come to nothing. The veteran trainer from Sheriff Hutton continues to churn out the winners and the form of his horses at present is hardly open to any doubt.
Alluring Star, fresh from a recent Catterick success, followed up at Musselburgh last Friday and Itlaaq likewise did the business at Doncaster the following evening.
The old firm is still going strong.
• PAUL MIDGLEY has an in-form sprinter in Orient Class, but the Westow trainer will be keeping a close eye on the weather forecast to determine future plans for the three-year-old.
“He wouldn’t want the ground too quick,” said Midgley after the gelding had run out an easy winner at Musselburgh last Friday to gain his second success from three outings this season.
“It’s made a difference putting a visor on him as he’s a very laid-back horse and the headgear has just helped him to focus a bit more.
"Where he’ll run next depends on the weather."
David O’Meara’s Hit The Jackpot was a decisive winner at Musselburgh, following up his nine-length success at Beverley last time out. The Nawton trainer also struck while the iron is hot earlier in the week at Redcar with Sheriff Of Nawton, who supplemented a recent Catterick win and looks a horse to follow.