Hong Kong Stuey: Fahey makes plans for Hanagan return
Richard Fahey: hopes to take Ribchester to the Dubai Turf
PICTURE: Caroline Norris (racingpost.com/photos) Hong Kong Stuey: Fahey makes plans for Hanagan By Stuart Riley in Hong Kong 8:00AM 9 DEC 2016
TRAINER Richard Fahey gave the clearest sign yet that he could renew his incredibly effective partnership with Paul Hanagan next season.
After watching Growl barely break out of a canter at Sha Tin on Friday morning, Fahey suggested both his mind and door were open to reuniting with his former stable jockey – with the ball now firmly in Hanagan's court.
Hanagan recently lost his retainer with Hamdan Al Maktoum to champion jockey Jim Crowley and has taken a holiday to consider his options, with a fresh bid for the jockeys' championship mooted.
In that sense a move back north to the tracks he rides so well must be made all the more tempting by the increase in the number and quality of horses at Fahey's disposal.
Fahey was still Hanagan's single biggest supplier of rides (89) and winners (ten) in a disappointing year in which he partnered just 73 winners in Britain When he won the title back with Fahey's support back in 2010 and 2011 he managed 205 and 177 winners in those years.
Fahey said: "It's up to Paul to let people know what he's doing, but at the moment I get the feeling he wants to come back up north and we've never stopped using him so we'll see. It hasn't been strongly discussed as he's on holiday at the moment but it's one option."
Fahey also mapped out plans for Prix Jacques le Marois winner Ribchester, who could step up in trip on his first start as a four-year-old and contest the 1m1f Dubai Turf.
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"He came back into training this week and has been on the treadmill," added Fahey. "I spoke to John [Ferguson, Godolphin chief executive] and I'm quite keen to take him to Dubai for World Cup night.
"I'd just take him straight in there, that's where we'll look to start his season off in the 1m1f race. On pedigree he should stay and if he does it will open up some of the mile and a quarter races in the second part of the season, but he also has an awful lot of speed so he could go back sprinting."
Outlining the first half of Ribchester's season he said: "The first part of his campaign looks pretty obvious. He'll go to Dubai and then there's the Lockinge and the Queen Anne and we'll see how he gets on, but races we haven't drawn a line through races like the Eclipse – they're definitely on my mind."
Royal Ascot bound whopper
Another trainer with Royal Ascot already in for his horse is the colourful Gary Moore. You can read more about him and his Sprint hope Takedown here, but suffice to say he's dreaming very big.
"I'm hoping to be able to persuade Antony Thompson that we might head to Royal Ascot," said Moore. "Having ridden at the meeting I think it'd be just fantastic to go back there with a horse that's hopefully come out and won on Sunday."
Oh yeah, did I mention he's incredibly bullish about the chances of his whopper of a four-year-old? Well, he really fancies his chances in a very infectious manner.
If Takedown does come to Royal Ascot he'd be worth popping along to see because he is an absolute beast of a horse. He weighs in at 618kg and just short of 17hh. For perspective Australia's other runner in the Sprint, Gary Portelli's Rebel Dane, is 489kg.
The king of Hong Kong expects to reign in Mile
Silvestre de Sousa describes fellow Brazilian Joao Moreira as the king of Hong Kong racing.
"Joao's a great jockey. He gets the best opportunities over here and he calls the shots, like Ryan Moore does in England," said De Sousa. "He's a top rider but everywhere you go there's a top rider. He's the king around here but he can't win them all so we keep chasing the dream."
So who does the king of Hong Kong rate as his best chance on Sunday? That's simple, Able Friend.
"He's very special. He's given me some of my biggest wins. The first time I sat on him I said to John [Moore – trainer] he's going to be a champion. He's my favourite horse, he has a place deep in my heart. His preparation hasn't been the best but we've done all we can and he feels good so if he's not 100 per cent I think he will be very close to it."
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