Richard Fahey flier to face Frankel as Ryedale trainers target Goodwood festival (From Gazette & Herald)
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Richard Fahey flier to face Frankel as Ryedale trainers target Goodwood festival
1:24pm Wednesday 1st August 2012 in Sport
The equine version of David and Goliath will be played out at Glorious Goodwood this week when a Ryedale challenger is set to take on the mighty Frankel, unbeaten in 11 races and the world’s highest-rated performer.
Gabrial, trained at Malton by Richard Fahey , will cross swords with Frankel in the £316,500 Qipco Sussex Stakes, Wednesday’s showpiece event at the five-day festival, and a race which Frankel won with ease last year.
Trained by Sir Henry Cecil for Prince Khalid Abdulla, Frankel, whose latest win at Royal Ascot in June was achieved by a mind-boggling 11 lengths without his jockey Tom Queally needing to ask him a serious question, is considered unbeatable this week, as his current odds testify.
He is generally trading at a strictly prohibitive 1-16, with one leading firm of bookmakers making him as short as 1-20.
Fahey, a huge fan of Frankel, knows it will take a near-miracle for Gabrial, or anything else for that matter, to lower his colours. But, strongly supported by owner Dr Marwan Koukash, a man who rarely, if ever, shies away from a battle, he is preparing to saddle Gabrial, who is priced at 50-1, in a line-up which has been decimated, presumably by Frankel’s towering presence.
Only four horses, including Frankel’s brother, Bullet Train, who acts as his lead-horse on the gallops and in races, have been declared to run in the Group 1 event, which carries substantial prize money, with each of the runners guaranteed a hefty amount.
The fact Frankel will almost certainly pick up the lion’s share to add to the £1.67 million he has already won in his unbeaten spree, which includes seven Group 1 events, goes without saying, but second, third and fourth prizes are not to be sniffed at either.
While Godolphin’s Farhh, narrowly beaten by the top-class Nathanial in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, rates as the main danger, if indeed any exists, Fahey is under no illusions about the task faced by Gabrial, but he feels there’s nothing to lose by trying and plenty to gain in prize money, whatever the outcome.
“It’s a one-horse race,” admitted the Musley Bank trainer. “I don’t think there’s a horse in the world who can beat Frankel there, but we’re going to take him on. It’s a big ask. Any horse would be running for second place against him, but we’ll see what happens.”
The Sussex Stakes, televised live on Channel 4 and Racing UK, will be staged at 3.10pm. The expectation is that Frankel will turn the race into a procession and then embark on the next stage of his extraordinary career.
At York, later this month at the Ebor Festival, he is to be aimed at the Juddmonte International Stakes, sponsored by his owner, Prince Khalid Abdulla, and which will be his first attempt beyond a mile.
In the meantime, tune into Goodwood, relish watching probably the best horse you’ll see in a lifetime – and keep fingers crossed Gabrial does himself justice and reaps a handsome reward for his efforts.
• Glorious Goodwood, which spans the remainder of the week, is being targeted by a host of Ryedale trainers, including David O’Meara, who is toying with the idea of being double-handed in Friday’s valuable Betfred Mile.
Smarty Socks, a wonderful ally to the Nawton trainer, who posted his 12th career success at York in May, will spearhead the O’Meara challenge, which also includes Madam Macie, who has been in good form this summer.
Brian Ellison’s Memory Cloth, the Richard Fahey-trained Sir Reginald and Declan Carroll’s in-form Swiftly Done are also on course to contest the big one-mile handicap.
While O’Meara may also run prolific winner Dutch Rose at Goodwood, Tim Easterby is keeping a close eye on the weather before deciding whether to saddle Hamish McGonagall in Friday’s King George Stakes.
The York specialist, a winner at his favourite venue last month, would be a match for all in this Group 3 contest, but Easterby needs to satisfy himself that ground conditions will be suitable before issuing his speedster the green light.
Whatever happens, ‘Hamish’ will be out again at York later this month in the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, in which he finished second last year to Margot Did.
Red Duke, John Quinn’s high-class three-year-old, has not enjoyed a great deal of luck this season.
Opportunity could come knocking for him again in the RSA Thoroughbred Stakes, while, in the £100,000 Blue Square Stewards’ Cup, Alben Star, trained by Fahey, has strong claims on the back of his recent Haydock success, which followed a sterling effort in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot.
Mick Easterby won last year’s Stewards’ Cup in unforgettable style with Hoof It. His chances this time rest with Ancient Cross, a useful horse on his day.
• The broken foot suffered by William Easterby in a recent riding fall was instrumental in Maven running – and winning – at York last Saturday.
The ultra-consistent and super-tough mare landed the Sky Bet Fillies’ Handicap under David Allan, who drove out the four-year-old to post a two-and-a-half lengths success over hot favourite Hippy Hippy Shake, the mount of Kieren Fallon.
Afterwards, trainer Tim Easterby, William’s father, who was saddling his seventh York winner of the season, said: “I had been thinking of running her in the Amateur Derby at Epsom, where William could have ridden him, but with him having broken his foot, that plan went out of the window.
“She’s a grand mare, who continues to improve and who goes on most sorts of ground.”
Dudley Taylor, incidentally, who retired last weekend after managing the Easterbys’ Easthorpe Stud, spent 39 years in his valuable role and not 33, as previously reported. Time obviously flies when you’re having fun. Good luck to Dudley in his retirement.
• David O’Meara is finding York a happy hunting ground this year. The Nawton trainer took his Knavesmire score in 2012 to six winners last weekend, courtesy of Anderiego and Herostatus.
The former, owned by the York-based Ebor Racing Club, was landing his second course win of the month, his Friday night victory being achieved in thrilling style under Danny Tudhope.
Herostatus produced a gutsy effort under Tudhope to win the two-mile handicap the following afternoon to complete a Saturday double for O’Meara, also on the mark with Fear Nothing, the mount of David Bergin, at Newcastle.
• There may be 150 or so horses of varying ability at Richard Fahey’s Musley Bank yard, but when it comes to sheer toughness, one stands out from the crowd.
Barefoot Lady has long since had a reputation of being granite-hard and she more than lived up to it on Knavesmire last Friday when landing the feature race on the evening programme.
Skilfully ridden by Tony Hamilton, the four-year-old out-battled young Newmarket pretender Emirates Queen to gain Listed honours in the Stobart Lyric Stakes by a neck.
“She’s the toughest filly in the yard, as hard as nails,” said Fahey.
Earlier in the day, Simply Shining, likewise owned by Helen and Norman Steel, had opened her winning account at Thirsk with Paul Hanagan partnering his 19th winner of the season for the Fahey stable.
A further treble for Fahey at Ayr on Monday – comprising Majestic Moon and Dutch Heritage, ridden by Tony Hamilton, and the Laura Barry-partnered Cheeky Wee Red – elevated the Malton trainer’s monthly tally for July to an extraordinary 28 winners.
• Tony Coyle has a useful-looking prospect on his hands in New Hampshire, who not only did his Norton trainer a good turn at Carlisle last Sunday but also made it a memorable day for his owner and jockey.
Formerly based in Newmarket with John Gosden, New Hampshire, a 20,000gns purchase, won the Carlisle Bowl under a superb ride from Lee Topliss on behalf of owner Brian Dunn, who owns a fire alarm company and is also the jockey’s sponsor.
• Alan Brown was delighted to see Meandmyshadow chalk up her sixth career win at Thirsk last Friday.
Speaking after seeing his sprinter gain a battling neck success, the Yedingham trainer said: “She’s very tough and she deserved to win again after running so well to finish third at Beverley last time out.”
• Preparations for the eagerly-awaited Malton Stables Open Day are continuing apace.
Included is a display by Retraining of Racehorses featuring a number of ex-racehorses who were trained locally, including Brooklyn Brownie, Knot In Wood, Bond Playboy and Elverys at Tim Fitzgerald’s yard, which will also play host to a Northern Racing College stand, which will include an equiciser, on which visitors and children can test their race-riding skills.
There will be a farriery demonstration at Richard Fahey’s yard between 10am and noon, and equine dentistry demonstrations at Lawrence Mullaney’s stables (11.30am) and the Brian Ellison yard (10am-noon).
Tim Easterby will be opening all three of his yards, and will be selling tea, coffee and bacon sandwiches throughout the morning, with all proceeds going to the charities.
Remember the date – Sunday, August 26.
• Malcolm Jefferson doesn’t do things by halves. Earlier this year, he not only ended a 17-year barren spell at the Cheltenham Festival but came away with a double, courtesy of Cape Tribulation and Attaglance. The following month, both horses remarkably followed up at the Aintree Festival.
The theme has continued recently with Uncle Brit, who provided jumps stalwart Jefferson with his first winner on the Flat for four years at Ayr.
On Monday, the gelding returned to the same course and duly doubled Jefferson’s Flat score.
And, just for good measure, Jefferson was also on the mark the same day with novice chaser Aneyeforaneye at Uttoxeter.