Richard Fahey on his Saturday runners including Royal Ascot

Sands Of Mali runs on Saturday

Our star columnist reflects on Ventura Rebel's narrow defeat in the Norfolk Stakes and takes us through his runners on Saturday.

Ventura Rebel ran a fantastic race to finish second to A'Ali in the Norfolk Stakes on Thursday and the pair of them came a long way clear of the third.

He's a horse we love and I thought he'd win - or go very close - here which is what's happened. You need everything to drop right to win at Royal Ascot and it just didn't quite for him but it was a mighty run and he's one to look forward to.

He could go up in trip but is quite quick and sits behind his bridle, which is what you want sprinters to do. We'll go back to Musley Bank and have a think about where to go now with all options open.

Of my runners earlier in the week I thought Summer Sands ran a very respectable race in the Windsor Castle.

He just got squeezed out early on which put him on the back foot and racing on the wrong part of the track. He’s finished sixth eventually behind Southern Hills and ran well. He’s an exciting horse and one to look forward to.

I have the Gimcrack in mind for him. York will suit him well and all roads will lead there.

Saturday team

13:35 Redcar - Saint Of Katowice

He makes his debut here and is quite sharp, he shows plenty at home. I hope he runs very well for all he’s a first-time-out two-year-old. He goes ok.

14:30 Royal Ascot - Ardenlee Star

The step up to seven furlongs here will definitely help. He needs to show a lot more than when winning his maiden at Thirsk on his first start but the runner-up Harry Love was fancied that day and my colt did it nicely. If he hit the frame I’d be delighted.

14:35 Ayr - Kuwait Shield

He was one of the yearlings Robin O’Ryan and I picked out to follow as part of the Christmas feature on sportinglife.com. He's a big, backward horse at home. He’s powerful but a bit playful so whatever happens on his first run he will improve a lot for it. If the penny drops time and he does everything right he could go well though.

15:05 Royal Ascot - Space Traveller

Strictly on form he really has to step up here but if there’s still some ease in the ground on Saturday he'll cope with it better than some which will help. He’s talented and I’d be delighted if he was in the first four I'd be thrilled in such a warm heat.

15:10 Ayr - Irreverent

He’s a horse we really like and I was hoping he’d be down at Ascot this week for the Britannia but it wasn’t to be. He was very disappointing at Doncaster last time but that was a messy race and I’d expect him to bounce back and run a very big race.

15:15 Redcar - Get The Rhythm

He hasn’t been thrown in by the handicapper with a mark of 78 and will probably be just the better for this, his first run back. I’d be pleasantly surprised if he won.

15:50 Redcar - Jungle Secret

She probably needs to go down the handicapping route but has been placed on her two starts to date. It will be handicaps after this but she could go well in what doesn’t look the deepest of contests.

16:20 Royal Ascot - Sands Of Mali

I spoke to Charlie Appleby on Wednesday about Blue Point running in this – if he was mine I would have done – so I wasn’t surprised to see him among the final declarations. It’s great for the race and I’m very happy with my horse ahead of the clash.

We've stuck a tongue strap on him for the first time here and we know he loves the track. Back on his A-game he’s a player. We have a new jockey aboard in James McDonald and his work has been very good building up to it. It will be interesting to see how he goes.

19:30 Haydock - Valdermoro

He's a nice colt by Declaration Of War but a very good mover and I’m just a little worried about whether he’ll cope with the ground. He’s ready to run and it’s time to take him to the races though and he’ll definitely be winning at some stage.

21:00 Haydock - Dark Devil

He was very unlucky at Chester last week when nothing went right for him. He'd previously finished second at Beverley and must have a big chance here.


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