Ribchester and Richard Fahey lift local fervour for York’s Ebor festival
Horse racing Ribchester and Richard Fahey lift local fervour for York’s Ebor festival Trainer raises status by winning Deauville’s Prix Jacques le Marois for Godolphin
David Lanigan hopeful over York Juddmonte International outsider Almodovar
The Godolphin-owned Ribchester won the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on Sunday to give Richard Fahey what he described as “the biggest win of my career”. The colt beat Vadamos in a hot renewal of the contest by an official half‑length but in fact won with authority.
Fahey, who said Ribchester was the best horse ever to be seen at his North Yorkshire stable, was also scoring a notable landmark by winning a Group One prize for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation – an achievement disappointingly infrequent for Godolphin’s in-house training establishments at Newmarket.
The celebrations at Malton were heightened by the success coming just before the start to the big Ebor festival at York on Wednesday. Local excitement had already been raised by David O’Meara’s stable – seven miles east of York – winning the Arlington Million in Chicago on Saturday evening with Mondialiste, ridden by Danny Tudhope.
Back in eighth place at Arlington was the Newmarket-trained Godolphin runner Tryster, whose jockey, William Buick, could well have been in a disconsolate mood during an overnight flight back across the Atlantic. Partnering Ribchester at Deauville would have changed all that. Buick has been particularly determined to reward his Dubai-based employers since returning at the start of August from a 30-day ban imposed in France.
“It’s a great thrill to win one of the most prestigious races in France and it shows that he might have been unlucky in the Sussex, when I didn’t ride him,” Buick said. “We were going away at the finish. He is one of the best milers I’ve ridden, for sure.”
Fahey said: “Ribchester’s incredible and came here in top form. Next year he could be the real deal. He’s the best we’ve ever had, he’s got everything. He has a lot of class and a lot of speed. It looked like he was going to win easily, but he had to battle a bit, and that’s good as it will help him to mature.
“We were very worried about the [low] draw, because the ground appeared to be a fair bit quicker on the far side, but needn’t have been. He will probably go to Ascot now for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.”
Related: Mondialiste wins Arlington Million for British trainer David O’Meara
Galileo Gold, a brilliant winner of the 2,000 Guineas and the St James’s Palace Stakes, was a warm favourite at Deauville but finished eighth of the 11 runners. He took up the lead soon after the start and failed to settle for Frankie Dettori.
Harry Herbert, the racing manager for the owners Al Shaqab Racing, said: “He was just too free early and had no cover. Ideally it would have been nice to follow something, but he got very lit up and ran with the choke out.
“He was very relaxed before the race, but completely out of rhythm in front on a straight track, where there’s nowhere to hide. Let’s see how he comes out of it, but I think he can have a mini-break and then we can look to run in the QEII.”
It was André Fabre’s Vadamos that proved the biggest challenge to Ribchester, but the five-year-old could not match the finishing speed of Fahey’s charge.
At York, officials reported the advance going for the four-day Ebor meeting as good-to-firm and said the track had been watered. The big race on Wednesday is the Group One Juddmonte International Stakes over 10 furlongs.
The hot favourite at 5-4 is the Roger Varian-trained Postponed, with Godolphin’s Hawkbill, trained by Charlie Appleby next in at 7-2.
There are plenty of others with chances. Among the rank outsiders is Almodovar, whose shrewd trainer, David Lanigan, was clearly of the opinion on Sunday that his four-year-old, priced around 25-1 and 33-1, should not be regarded as a no-hoper.
Almodovar ran very well at Royal Ascot, over 12 furlongs, Lanigan said, but had not stayed the trip: “That took a bit out of him, which is why he hasn’t run since. But we are looking forward to York. I certainly don’t run horses in Group One races unless they have a chance.”