Richard Fahey: Winning Spirit?
Top trainer Richard Fahey brings us his exclusive guide to each and every one of his 32 runners on a very busy Saturday.
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We’ve another strong team in action on Saturday and of course my son Peter rides Extraterrestrial in the charity race at York. ET won it under Mrs Wrigley last year – so Pete’s under a bit of pressure! Macmillan Cancer Support are a fantastic charity and I’m delighted he’s raising money for them. Every donation really would be most welcome – you can get more details here.
On to the rest of the Saturday team and Kyllachy Star has been very disappointing - Jamie Spencer almost pulled him up at Leicester last time. I think he’s well handicapped and he looks fantastic, but he’s just not doing it on the track right now. We’ll try again in the M-Pact Building Services Ltd Handicap at Musselburgh.
Our Gabrial is at Sandown for the Betfred 'Come On England' Handicap. He disappointed on heavy ground the other day and needs to step up, but hopefully the quicker surface will help.
Tiger Lilly surprised us a little when winning her maiden at Thirsk. She hadn’t been eating great earlier in the spring and therefore hadn’t done too much fast work. We’re learning all the time with her but I can’t help but think the handicapper might have been tough giving her a starting mark of 76.
We’ll see in the Queen Mother's Cup, and while she’ll improve, she’s an inexperienced filly in among seasoned handicappers. We also run Mica Mika who can’t win at the moment – the handicapper has him. He keeps running well, he always does his best, but just needs a little help.
As for the rest of the York team, Spirit Of The Law goes in the JCB Handicap. He had a good season last term and was badly outpaced at Epsom last week, when he didn’t really handle the track. He looks fantastic at the moment, the handicapper is starting to give him a chance and the extra furlong will suit.
We’ve three in the BetBright Charity Sprint. I couldn’t work out why Supplicant was favourite at Goodwood last time and he’s only just starting to come to himself now. We now think six furlongs is his trip and while he’s a hard horse to place, he could be interesting here.
I’d struggle to split him and Eastern Impact who put up a good performance at Newmarket the other day but has gone up the handicap as a result. He travels well and if they go flat out here he’ll be coming home well.
I’ve been disappointed with Rufford this year. The handicapper could have his measure, but at least this probably represents a drop in class for him.
I wouldn’t really like to pick between Dakota Canyton and Ingleby Symphony in the Ice Co Supporting Macmillan Handicap. The former likes finishing second, which is a slight problem, but is running well at the moment. Ingleby Symphony is very hit and miss. She’ll run well one day and awfully the next. On a going day she’d have an each-way squeak.
We’re having a go at the Reg Griffin Appreciation EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes with five runners! Intwin ran a cracking race behind a good horse in Red Icon on his Haydock debut and looks to have a very big chance here.
That said, Winstanley has run twice and shown ability on both occasions. Stepping up in trip will help him and there may not be that much between the two.
The owners were keen to run Birkdale Boy who should have come on for his debut but may be more of a nursery type.
Bonds Choice is another who will be going down the handicap route at some stage but has run here twice before and did shape well on debut.
Super Quick is a nice filly by Rip Van Winkle who makes her debut. She’s ready to race now but may do better in time and over seven furlongs.
Time And Place has been extremely disappointing. He’s a very good work horse - he’d beat Baccarat in a gallop at home - but just hasn’t transferred it to the racecourse. We’ve stuck blinkers on him in the Charles Henry Memorial Handicap to see if they help. It wouldn’t surprise me if he won – but I can’t be confident either.
We send two down to Bath for Marwan Koukash. Gabrial The Thug goes in the FSB Pension Scheme For Members Handicap and we’re getting to the stage where he really needs to shape up, or retirement could be an option.
Rainford Glory is in the FSB Insurance Service Handicap and it looks an ordinary enough contest. I was pleased with his first run for us at Newcastle and he should come on for it. If he does he’d have to run a big race in this company.
Now back to Musselburgh where Nashville is our runner in the Stobo Castle Ladies Day Cup. He ran a solid race at Newcastle last time but isn’t always the sort to string two good runs together. That said, the latest effort was a step in the right direction as he had seemed to have lost his way for a while.
Ballesteros is a horse who’s at his best on very soft ground. They had him on his head at Epsom last weekend and he didn’t travel at all. He goes in the William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup and is nicely drawn. Rain would help but I’m very happy with him and we’re taking the hood off.
Ewell Place keeps finishing second, but there are no excuses and he doesn’t look ungenuine. The Gaynor Winyard Apprentice Handicap is an ordinary race and I’d love him to win it as he deserves to get his head in front.
As usual we’re busy at Chester. I’m a little worried Lexi’s Hero could need the run in the Lambrini Handicap as he’s had a good break following an all-weather campaign. Tango Sky was very disappointing the last day and I just don’t know why he ran so badly. He didn’t run any race at all but I’m learning about him all the time and if he returned to the form of his first run for us he’d have a chance.
Paddy Mathers gave Las Verglas Star a fantastic ride to win at Chester last time and is again in the saddle for the Crabbie's Original Handicap. We know he likes the track but this is a better race than the one he won so he’ll need plenty of luck in running.
Pushkin Museum was a very buzzy horse when he came to us but we’re much happier with him now. That said stall 10 will hardly help in the Crabbie's Strawberry And Lime Handicap.
Mandy The Nag has his first run for us in the Lamb's Navy Rum Fillies' Handicap and I believe he’s named after Marwan’s wife, which shows you how brave he is! We haven’t had her long and she doesn’t show much at home but looks very well.
Gabrial’s Bounty started favourite for a race at the big May meeting here which I couldn’t believe. He’d had a year off and hadn’t shown us a lot at home and ran accordingly. Were happier with him now but the trip is the question ahead of the Crabbie's Scottish Raspberry Handicap.
I do like Gatepost in the same race. He has plenty of ability and can run well fresh. He’s potentially well handicapped and looks fantastic just now – but did have a setback three weeks ago. He missed four or five days’ work then and I’m just worried he might need it a tad here as a result.
English Summer has his first run for us in the Betfred 'World Cup In Play' Handicap at Sandown. He finished second in a seller last time and the handicapper dropped him 6lb. He’d have a real chance off his new mark on the pick of his form and he’s moving well at home. We’re happy with him.
Finally we have two at Leicester’s evening meeting. Oud Malakiy ran on heavy ground on debut and hated it. She’s genuine and tries very hard so I’d expect her to run a lot better in the Tony Gibbons Hits The Big Sixty Maiden Fillies' Stakes.
Rangi Chase should win races but was a tad disappointing at Ripon last time. David Nolan suggested we should drop back in trip and go down the handicap route so that’s exactly what we are giving a try in the Cream Gorse Handicap.