Richard Fahey: Garswood back
Richard Fahey runs the rule over all 22 of his runners on Friday and Saturday and has the latest news on his Royal Ascot team.
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It was good to finish up as top trainer at Epsom's Derby meeting with a couple of winners and some other placed horses last weekend. But I'd still prefer it if we were having a few more winners at present - that's what the owners want and it's what I want too.
It's going to be a busy weekend for the yard, but we have also got an eye on some of the bigger meetings coming up.
At the moment, I've about 14 horses pencilled in for Royal Ascot, but a lot will depend upon what the weather does between now and then. If it was to come up quick, we could cut the team in half straight away.
There's the prize money to consider too. If you take a horse like Eccleston, he's got 8st 4lb in the Newbury Super Sprint which is worth £250,000, and the Ascot races are worth £60,000 to £80,000. So you've got to consider all of the options. No one meeting is the be-all and end-all.
Garswood will be entered in the St James's Palace Stakes and the Jersey Stakes and we'll look at both races.
I wish I could go back to Newmarket and start the day again because I'm still sure we didn't see the real horse last time in the 2000 Guineas.
He was up in the air when the stalls opened and having lost that little bit of ground, he never looked comfortable from the start. For a horse who has loads of pace, he just didn't travel at all and for whatever reason he just wasn't himself. Maybe he just lost his confidence on the ground after the rain that fell just before the race.
The good news is that he did a particularly good piece of work yesterday and having had a quiet week after Newmarket, he's going nicely again.
Going back to the two-year-olds, I was delighted with Sandiva at Naas earlier this week and she will probably run at Ascot now, although she has come back a little bit light and needs to bounce back in the next few days.
Parbold won nicely at York and could run in the Coventry Stakes, while we could also send Supplicant, who runs on Saturday at Beverley in the Brian Yeardley Two Year Old Trophy.
It won't be easy for him, as he gave weight away to everything else, but I was delighted with his first run and he seems to have come out of that race particularly well. He's a nicely-bred colt with a professional attitude.
It's hard to say where he fits into the pecking order. If you asked everyone in the yard what our best two-year-old is, you'd probably get a different answer from all of them at this stage of the season. But I hope he'll run very well.
I'll be going to Beverley myself on Saturday, but don't read too much into that. It's closest to home, for one thing!
Asgardella takes three rivals on in the conditions race. She's only third-best on ratings, but she's tough and in these small fields you can get some strange results. I'd love to get another win out of her for the owners.
Lord Clyde runs in the opener after two good runs for me. I was pleased with his third in the Brocklesby and the filly that he finished second to last time is a Queen Mary possible so I wouldn't be disheartened. He's a grand little horse with loads of pace and the one they have to beat on the formbook - but you never know what the newcomers are up to.
I was extremely disappointed with Going Grey last time and he needs to bounce right back in the Very British Sing Song After Racing Handicap but we'll put some cheekpieces on him and hope they have the right effect. He's got the ability to win but that doesn't mean that he's going to, sadly.
Salford Red Devil is one of a few that are going to Chester for Marwan Koukash.
We'd only had him for a couple of weeks after buying him at the Breeze-Ups when he was third first time out from a bad draw. Disappointingly, he's got another nightmare draw in stall nine this time, so it's all about whether he can overcome that, but he's not a bad little horse. You'd think with all of the horses Marwan sends to Chester, they could look after him a bit better with the draws he gets!
Area Fifty One ran another big race at Epsom and is back up to a mark of 102 now. Is he really that good? I don't know the answer to that, but he's in good form and we're taking 5lb off him by using George Challoner to give him every chance. He's got some good form around Chester and this might not be the most competitive event considering the money on offer.
George also rides Alejandro in the Crabbie's Scottish Raspberry Handicap and this is another horse who goes well at Chester. He needed to come down the weights in order to come back to form at Musselburgh and now he is back up another 3lb, but the claim will help. I hope he'll run a big race but he'll need some luck.
We've got two in the following Crabbie's Original Handicap, but it's pretty competitive on paper. Layla's Oasis has only been with us for three weeks but she works nicely and it's a shame that she doesn't have a better draw as I'd have thought she might have gone close. Strange Magic is better than she showed on her reappearance but she might just have enough weight after going up a lot in the handicap at the end of last season.
It's My Time runs in the last and she has been very disappointing. Last time out, she didn't seem to want to do it at all and we're trying cheekpieces now. When she first came to us, we had to teach her to settle, but now we've done that we've got to try and get her going again!
The thing about Johannes is that you can never rule him out because just when you think the handicapper has got him, he can throw in another big one. But realistically he's 10 now and I'm just not sure that he's got the ability to win off his mark, even though he has started to drop a few pounds.
Gatepost was well backed at Chester last time when he was tipped up by Pricewise and I can understand why because he has come down the weights and I hope there is a big race in him somewhere this season. Will it be here? I don't know but I hope the straight track might suit him better than Chester did.
Paul Hanagan rides Mica Mika and he knows him well but the handicapper's probably got this horse about right now and I would be surprised if there aren't a couple better treated than him. He doesn't know how to run a bad race and that's not helping his cause really.
Nashville came to us from Ian Williams and I was really hopeful for him first time out, but he didn't run any sort of race. That was too bad to be true and it might just be that he doesn't want quick ground, but it's too soon to put a line through him as he goes nicely for us so he gets another chance at Catterick.
The handicapper has got Henry Bee, who runs in the following race, so we don't have much option but to claim off him. Hopefully he will come back to form at some stage.
Lasalareen is owned with a friend of mine and we hoped she might be all right at one stage, but she's done absolutely nothing on the racecourse - she's hardly raised a gallop. This isn't a bad race but I'd love to her to show a little more encouragement.
I have half-a-dozen runners on Friday too, but none of them look to have particularly easy tasks as the racing is quite competitive for a Friday, if you know what I mean.
Fantacise goes down to Newmarket for the Cheffins EBF Fillies' Handicap and I'm not sure what to expect really. She has been really disappointing on two of her three starts, but ran really well in the sales race in between.
I'm not quite sure where we stand with her now, and it's getting a bit frustrating for her owner, but what I do know is that if anyone can get a tune out of her it's going to be Kieren Fallon. I just have a feeling that she might go well for him.
Badea goes to Haydock for the apprentices' race and he has been disappointing, hand on heart. He might prefer a mile and a half to this trip, but what I would say is that he has come back to us from Marwan's looking a million dollars, so it's not impossible that he could come back to form. He's fit and very well.
Mystery Bet runs in the Bianchi, Denning, Jones, Hornsby, Mathias, Rowley Handicap at the end of the card and this is a big day for her. I was really looking forward to her this season but she let me down badly at Newmarket. Having thought that she might be a really nice filly, the jury is out a bit now, but it was mid-April and maybe it was just early enough in the year for a filly like her.
It looks competitive at Pontefract. Khalice goes all right at home and we like her, but Tim Easterby's filly Supa U was bit of an eyecatcher first time and I think we could struggle to beat her.
Ryan Moore rode Rene Mathis last time at Leicester and felt that he might not have handled the undulations. The stiff finish at Ponty could suit him and I think there is a race in him off his mark, but he's up against a couple of potentially-decent ones.
Finally, Orions Hero needs to put a bad run behind him when he goes in the Constant Security Serving Yorkshire Racecourses Handicap. I never like to condemn a horse after one poor run on soft ground, but you'd have to say it didn't look like he handled it at all last time and hopefully the better surface will suit here. He's quite a likeable horse and might have an each-way chance.