Richard Fahey: What’s up, ‘dok!
Leading trainer Richard Fahey reflects on what might have been on Champions Day and looks ahead to his Saturday chances including the unbeaten Andok.
It was great to be represented on QIPCO British Champions Day last Saturday and while some of them ran really well at Ascot, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit frustrated.
Ribchester is finished for the year now after his second to Minding, who is clearly an exceptional filly and the one I was really fearful of going into the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
He was a little bit keen in the early stages again and on that basis you'd have to hope he might be able to improve a bit again next year if he learns to properly settle.
But it's been a great season, despite the fact it's tinged with a sense of what might have been. He's won about £800,000 and is rated 122 so he's not done too badly really though has he?
Growl was another to perform really well for us last Saturday when second to The Tin Man in the Champions Sprint.
He'd been working nicely in the build-up and I thought he'd run well in first-time cheekpieces but it wasn't to be on the day. The handicapper has put him up 10lb and while that now makes my life a bit more difficult, there didn't appear to be any fluke about it.
I was quite sweet on him for the Ayr Gold Cup, it didn't happen there either but he's done us proud this season.
We put a visor on Don't Touch, who was fifth in the same race, and it looks like they've definitely helped him concentrate on the job. I just wonder if maybe next season we'll have to try him over a bit further as there's plenty of opportunities to test the water at seven furlongs.
We've had Third Time Lucky ready for his last two races and he's run life-time bests so we can't complain despite the fact it's been a touch frustrating.
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He won five times last year but hasn't won at all this season so maybe it's just a case of the system catching up with him a bit. He can't keep on improving. He possibly didn't get the clearest of runs on the day as the winner came across slightly which had a knock-on effect, but that's part of racing in big-field handicaps.
On to this weekend and we run Character Onesie in the Sunbets.co.uk Download The App Handicap (1.35) at Doncaster.
He's not got a good draw I'm afraid, 17 doesn't look the place you want to be. He's not had many opportunities over 10 furlongs and he's been running well over shorter since winning at Yarmouth in August. Tony Hamilton rides and I reckon he's going to need a bit of luck.
We're triple-handed in the Crownhotel-bawtry.com Apprentice Jockeys' Training Series Final Handicap (4.25), with Adam McNamara on Prying Pandora, who hasn't run badly the last twice after winning at Leicester. She probably wants slower ground in truth being a Dark Angel filly so I'll be hoping for a drop of rain.
The same applies to Young John and the softer it gets the better for him. We've been hanging fire with him waiting for the ground to change a bit and he's in good order but I'd like some rain!
Hayley Irvine rides Young John – she's shaping well in the saddle and could be even better with a little bit more aggression in a finish.
Natalie Hambling's mount Yosemite has been a little bit underwhelming and the handicapper is taking his time to drop her. She's a lightly-raced filly, though, and the step back up to seven could help.
I've made no secret of the fact Andok is a horse we like a lot but he's going to need to keep progressing to make it three from three in the Saint Gobain Nursery Handicap (5.00).
He's gone up 5lb for winning by a head over this course and distance last month but still looks like he might have some improvement in him and he's hopefully going to make the grade as a three-year-old.
Right Touch and Khelman are my two in the Join Racing Post Members' Club Conditions Stakes (5.35) and have a little bit to find on the figures in this company.
Having said that, Khelman knows how to win at Doncaster which is in his favour and Right Touch is best over seven furlongs on this ground so I certainly wouldn't be ruling him out.
Just the one runner at Chelmsford City on Saturday evening, with Gabridan in the Toteexacta Forecast The 1st And 2nd Nursery Handicap (6.05).
Whether she's quick enough for five furlongs around there I'm not too sure but she's done alright with the draw in stall one and obviously improved a bit when second there last time. The visor sparked something positive from her so we'll stick with the same headgear and hope for the best.
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