Richard Fahey: He's above Par
It's been a tough first three days for our man Richard Fahey at the Ebor meeting but the trainer hopes to get a score on the board soon and has some of his best chances still to come. He runs the rule for us over his Saturday runners at the track and a couple elsewhere.
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On Saturday we open with Fort Bastion and Switcher in the Betfred City of York Stakes.
Fort Bastion's only been with me about six weeks. He worked very well this week but I honestly don't know how he will run. Sir Robert wants runners at York and the horse is fit and well, so there's no reason not to run him. He's in good order. Switcher wants soft ground so we'll have to see if the rain comes on Friday night. She's got to step up on everything she has shown so far but she's training well.
Parbold isn't a slow horse. When he got beat at Goodwood, I just think he got locked up and wasn't able to use himself because I promise you that he's not a slow horse. They didn't go much of a pace there and that didn't help him. He's got plenty of speed and he'll be competitive in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes. I imagine we'll ride him fairly handily. He's a big, long-striding horse and we'll try and make some use of that.
We've got Salford Red Devil in the Julia Graves Roses Stakes as he's rated 97 and can't run in the conditions race, so that restricted our options a bit. He ran okay the other day and hopefully he won't be too far away. There might be one or two good for him, but he tries.
We run three in the Betfred The Bonus King Handicap and, while Spirit Of The Law doesn't show a lot at home, he did win well the other day and any rain would help. He might just be on the up a bit and although he needs to improve again, I wouldn't rule it out.
Garde Cotiere has been really disappointing this year and he has his problems. We'll see what happens with him but Hi There, I thought, ran well at Goodwood. It didn't quite happen for him, but he's in good form at present. There wouldn't be a lot between the three. If Garde Cotiere came back to his best, he'd probably have the strongest chance, but that's a big 'if'.
In the last on the card we run Mary's Daughter and Bispham Green who has had his wind done which is why he hasn't run for a while. But he's been running consistently well all year and I hope the minor operation he has had will just help him a bit. The worry is that he might just need the run after the break.
Mary's Daughter has come down a few pounds since last year and is starting to get to a mark from which I hope she can win. The trip will suit her and she's got a chance too. I wouldn't want to pick between them.
At Goodwood, Heavens Guest hasn't got the best draw towards the outside in the heritage handicap which is disappointing. Seven furlongs will probably help him. He probably got racing sooner than he would have wanted in the Stewards' Cup having got stuck down the middle but it was always going to be a hard race for a three-year-old.
He got out of his comfort zone a bit, but moving up to seven furlongs might help him in that respect and when I looked at the forecast it seemed they might get some rain and that would help him too. It's competitive but he's a horse I like.
Last, but by no means least, is Area Fifty One who runs in the Winter Hill Stakes on the evening card at Windsor. I was delighted with him last time but he's on the back foot here against good horses and if he gets a place I'll be delighted.