Richard Fahey: Up for the Cup

Star columnist Richard Fahey guides us through his team on another typically busy weekend for the yard.

Growl has come out of the Ayr Gold Cup in good form

Ribchester continues to really please me ahead of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in a fortnight's time. His work is good and there won't be anything else going into that race in better form.

We've still got lots to play for before then though and we've a good team going down to Ascot on Saturday, where the feature race is the Totescoop6 Challenge Cup, a race where the first prize is more than £100,000 and which we won three years ago with Heaven's Guest.

Heaven's Guest is one of three we've got in it this year and although he hasn't been showing it in his last couple of starts, he does like Ascot and he has crept a couple of pounds down the weights at last. He's in grand old form at home, so hopefully he can show it on the track too.

Right Touch has improved again this season and doesn't really know how to run a bad race. I wonder if he might want a drop of rain though.

Growl is the obvious one after he finished second in the Ayr Gold Cup last time and seven furlongs didn't seem to be a problem when he tried it before in the Bunbury Cup. He came out of the race in good form and this looked an obvious one to go for.

I was pleased with him at Ayr and he must have a chance, even if he's now rated 104 and you've got to be a very nice horse to win one of these big handicaps off that kind of mark – let's hope he is because he will need to be. He's actually in the Champions Sprint at Ascot but we'll get this race out of the way first.

Don't Touch came back a little bit sore from the July Cup. I was expecting better that day and he didn't show it, but we've got him right again now for the John Guest Bengough Stakes. He'd won his Listed race before then so we have got to step him up to Group Three class and this looked the obvious race. I'm pleased with him although it's not an easy race.

Celebration runs in the McGee Group Joining Jack Handicap and he's got something to prove after a poor run last time at Doncaster, but at home he seems in good shape and I'd give him a little outside chance although he's still got plenty of weight.

The big race at Redcar is the Totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy and we've got four running, but I'm not overly hopeful.

I'm not sure how Champion Harbour has got in rated 62, but he'll take his chance even if he has got a lot to find. Abiento won his maiden well enough last time and I think six furlongs suits him better than seven, but he's got 20lb to find with the favourites.

The Wagon Wheel is a filly we like, as everyone knows. It might just be that the race at Goodwood came too soon for her last time and she was never travelling from the start. I believe she's better than that, but is she good enough to win this? I'm not so sure.

Lady In Question was running on again at Newmarket last weekend and might just not appreciate coming back to six furlongs here, but some juice in the ground would help if she gets it at some stage.

Richard on Dawn Mirage "Dawn Mirage has been an absolute credit to himself this year. You could argue that this is actually a step down in grade from his last run as it doesn't look quite as hot and I'll be disappointed if he doesn't run a big race."
Richard on Dawn Mirage

Dawn Mirage is one of two we run in the Pinnacle Cup Straight-Mile Series Final and he has been an absolute credit to himself this year, running consistently well all season. He has run two really good races at Goodwood and Newmarket on his last couple of starts and you could argue that this is actually a step down in grade from his last run as it doesn't look quite as hot.

He's gone up in the weights again and has plenty to carry here but we've got Adam [McNamara] on board to claim off him and I'll be disappointed if he doesn't run a big race.

Normandy Knight likes this track and is also capable of running a big race on his day. He's still realistically-handicapped and is in decent form.

Theos Lolly might go well at a fair price in the Market Cross Jewellers Handicap. I thought he'd go well at Ayr the other day and he ran a decent race, but he wasn't as lucky with the draw as some of the others. I also think this might just be his trip as the distance seemed to stretch him last time. He travelled nicely though and I think he's in good form.

Showbizzy has given his owners a bit of fun with a couple of wins already this season and is one that doesn't mind decent ground, She could run well again.

David's Duchess is the first of our Newmarket runners in the British EBF Breeders' Fillies' Series Sprint Handicap and she has been running well all year, but I'm not sure how well-handicapped she is. I'm sure she'll run her race again and you have to have a go in a race like this when there is £50,000 up for grabs – the prize-money is excellent.

A drop of rain would help her, as it would Miss Van Gogh, who runs in the following British Stallions Supporting EBF Breeders' Fillies' Mile. I rang the groundsman at Newmarket and he wasn't sure how it would ride on the day – they could get some rain, or it could miss the track altogether, but this filly would definitely ideally like some rain.

I don't think she was seen quite to best effect at Ayr last time when challenging towards the middle of the track. It just seemed at that meeting that for whatever reason you didn't want to be coming from too far off the pace or from too far away from the rail.

She's got a bit of a tough draw again in stall 13 here – we just can't seem to get any luck with draws at the moment – but it might just be that she's running back into a bit of form and she could run a good race.

Similar comments apply to Imshivalla in the following race. Again, a drop of rain would be ideal, and again I was pleased with her runs at Ayr – she ran very well in the Listed race and then again the next day. She's capable of a big run.

We've three in the £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes.

Lucky Mistake ran well first time out at York but has come up short every time since because he keeps bumping into better horses. He needs to find more here, but the prize money goes down to 10th so you'd be made not to give it a go.

Boundsy has been running well all year. I'm a bit worried that he might be running on empty towards the finish, but he's honest and should win more races.

Society Red is going to make a nice horse over a mile or 10 furlongs next year and I have the opposite worry for him over this trip. That said, if he can keep up with them, he'll be finishing as strongly as anything and I'd like to see him run well.

It's not my policy to run horses from out of the handicap, but I didn't think the EBF Breeders' Fillies' Series Handicap over a mile and a half looked the hottest for a £50,000 race so Luna Mare is going to take her chance. I think moving up to a mile and a half is in her favour – I'm sure she'll get the trip – and I wouldn't be surprised to see her run well.

We've one more runner, Mustique, at Wolverhampton in the evening, for whom champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa is booked. Once again, I'm not over the moon about the draw – nine of nine.

It's not going to stop her from winning, but it certainly won't help, which is a shame as she's been in good form at home and I was looking forward to stepping her up in trip. Hopefully she can still put in a good run so that we can end the day with a winner.

Meanwhile, nothing came to light to explain Queen Kindly's run in the Cheveley Park Stakes last Saturday. As we were taking her home, I was half-expecting to find her in season, but we tested her all week and nothing came to light. All we can do is say that it was an off-day and look forward to next year with her. I still hope and believe that she is a very nice filly.

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