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Historic win in store for Richard Fahey after two near misses
Alben Star, who has twice run excellent races in major handicaps this season without getting his head in front, can make it third time lucky in Ripon’s showpiece event tomorrow.
The historic Great St Wilfrid Handicap, sponsored by William Hill and with prize money of £70,000, is the target of Alben Star, trained by Richard Fahey and the mount of Tony Hamilton.
Beaten by less than two lengths into fifth place in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood last time, Alben Star, previously successful at Haydock, had earlier finished on the heels of the leaders in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot.
The Malton gelding is more than capable of landing a big prize and although this is yet another fiercely competitive handicap, the four-year-old is expected to take plenty of beating.
For the first time, William Hill are also sponsoring a ‘consolation’ race – the £20,000 William Hill Silver Trophy – for those horses which fail to make the cut in the Great St Wilfrid and although Fahey has good prospects of also winning this, with El Viento, preference is for Prodigality, trained by Ron Harris.
A Bath winner last time out after a narrow defeat at York, Prodigality, a lightly-raced French recruit, is held in high esteem by Harris, who feels he is a sprinter very much on the upgrade.
The £12,000 Ripon Horn Blower Stakes is a strong supporting race to the big two and the very promising Ashaadd promises to be hard to beat for Neil Callan.
The Roger Varian-trained juvenile trotted up at Windsor last time by six lengths. He looks useful and this race looks a stepping stone to even better things.
Also worth noting at Ripon are Tim Easterby’s Bachotheque (1.45), who is unlucky to be still a maiden and who is awarded the nap vote, and Kyllachy Star (2.55) and Lady Loch (4.35), who are stable-mates of Alben Star.
Whatever the fate of Alben Star and company from Musley Bank, Fahey also has good prospects of clinching the feature race at Doncaster, the £20,000 Lindsey Close Building Services Handicap with Sir Reginald, the mount of David Nolan.
A high achiever for his owner, Channel 4 racing presenter Jim McGrath, Sir Reginald may not quite have seen out the trip when stepped up to a mile at Goodwood last time when he finished a highly respectable sixth in a heritage handicap.
He is back to seven furlongs this time and, having shaped well on the distance at Newmarket two outings ago, Sir Reginald should be involved in the shake up.
Tim Easterby can win the Park Hill Hospital Handicap with Getabuzz, who won over course and distance in mid-summer.
Getabuzz has since finished a decent third at York and is currently thriving. He can resume winning ways.
Connor Dore has found a resurgence of form from Standpoint, who is fancied to complete a hat-trick of wins in the DC Training Apprentice Handicap. Dore has had this race in mind for Standpoint since he completed a quick-fire Epsom and Southwell double.
Also worth noting are the promising Iberis (2.05) and the speedy Fratellino (4.25).
1.45 Bachotheque (NAP), 2.20 Prodigality, 2.55 Kyllachy Star, 3.30 Alben Star, 4.00 Ashaadd, 4.35 Lady Loch, 5.10 Cellist.
1.35 Hayek, 2.05 Iberis, 2.40 Enrol, 3.15 Tukitinyasok, 3.50 Sir Reginald, 4.25 Fratellino, 5.00 Getabuzz, 5.35 Standpoint.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Chester, Lingfield, Market Rasen, Newbury, Newmarket and Perth.
Today’s meetings: Catterick, Kempton, Newbury, Newcastle, Newmarket and Nottingham.