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Seven up for Fahey in York’s dramatic finale
3:27pm Wednesday 17th October 2012 in Sport
York’s 2012 racing season came to a muddy climax last weekend with a phenomenal amount of non-runners, a host of Ryedale winners and a magnificent seventh successive trainers’ title – against all the odds – for Richard Fahey.
Going into the final two days of the Knavesmire programme, Fahey had just four winners on the board and was some way behind leader William Haggas, who, with eight in the season at York, was heading Tim Easterby and David O’Meara by one.
Fahey, however, was not to be denied, and after saddling two winners on Friday, he followed up with a treble on Saturday to make it nine for the campaign – the same number as Easterby, who had a winner on each of the two days.
Both Haggas and O’Meara drew blanks at the fixture, each having near-misses.
The title was settled between Fahey and Easterby on their number of second places and, with Fahey having had 11 throughout the campaign, he took the championship for a record seventh year on the trot.
“Lazarus came back from the dead, and so did we,” joked the Malton trainer, who was thrilled to be crowned York’s number one yet again. “We had just been missing out a lot at York this season, with far more seconds and thirds than winners, but it came good when it mattered.”
One vital component was Paul Hanagan, his former stable jockey, who galvanised Polski Max to gain a narrow victory on Friday before amateur Nick Slatter won on stable-mate Lexington Bay, and who was also aboard two of Fahey’s three winners on Saturday, Mystery Bet and Bridle Belle. Freddie Tylicki added to the scoresheet aboard Chapter Seven.
Hanagan also completed a Saturday treble on the John Gosden-trained Mashaari, whose head victory in the staying handicap over Cape Tribulation saw the rider scupper Malcolm Jefferson, his original Ryedale boss.
He also retained York’s leading jockey crown.
“I am over the moon to win it again, especially as I am now based in the south,” said Hanagan, who punched the air as he crossed the line on Bridle Belle, York’s final winner of the 2012 campaign.
Easterby may have come narrowly unstuck in the trainers’ table, but it was a memorable meeting for the Great Habton handler, who struck with No Poppy on Friday and Royal Rascal the following day.
Emotions ran high after No Poppy’s fifth success of the year as the four-year-old carries the colours of the trainer’s popular mother, Marjorie, who died last month.
“That was brilliant for her to win again, fantastic,” said Easterby after seeing stable apprentice Adam Carter win on No Poppy for a fourth time, having struck up such a fine rapport with her.
“She doesn’t really go for the whip, so I told Adam to just use hands and heels on her,” explained Easterby. “She’s benefited from having the hood put on her. It’s suited her.”
Royal Rascal gained Listed honours in the Rockingham Stakes under David Allan, running out a decisive winner and proving to Easterby what he’s known for a long time.
“She’s a very good filly. She just didn’t fire last time out at Ayr – I don’t know what happened to her there – but she’s always been good.
“There’s a chance she could run again this season. There’s another race in this country for her and one at Maissons-Laffitte in France.”