Star columnist Richard Fahey kicks off the 'Our Friends in the North' series for 2020 with a full rundown of his horses for the season ahead.
Our Friends in the North - Richard Fahey
Stable Star: Space Traveller
Horse to Follow: Custodian
Handicapper to Follow: Yoshimi
He’s gone on his holidays. As soon as we got shut down he went on a break. He’s back up in the ratings now which makes it difficult but he’s a capable horse on his day.
She progressed well last year before losing her way a little. We’d be happy with where she is now though and Black Type is the aim for her this time around.
He’s had a setback and will be back in for the back end of the season. He’s a big fine horse who has had a few niggly problems which are stopping him from being a decent handicapper. There’ll be a big one in him one day.
There’s a big day in him somewhere too. He’s had a chip taken out of his knee which has been bothering him. He won’t run on anything too quick but on his day and on the right ground he’s quite smart.
A good hardy horse who likes soft ground. He never lets us down and always wins a few races every year.
She’s not very big but she has a very big heart. All the Gredley horses we have are very tough, I’m not sure how you breed that into them but they’re managing it. Every one we’ve had of theirs have been tough and genuine. A bit of black type would be vital for her.
Fool For You
She had a great day and won the Gosforth Park Cup at Newcastle and all roads will lead back there with her. She had a dart at a Listed race but wants a good face pace and you don’t get that in some pattern races. John Dance loves Newcastle and it was a big win for him last year, he enjoyed it, and we’ll try to do it again.
He’s going to miss his chance to win a third Huxley on the bounce but the only beauty of that is he won’t be carrying a Group Two penalty all season and it opens other options for him. I haven’t sat down and formed a plan yet as we don’t know where we are with what’s happening but he’ll be running at the top level.
A good horse who progressed well and I thought he ran well all winter. He’s on a little break at the moment but there’s no reason to me why he won’t be as good on the grass. He’ll be back before the end of the campaign.
Gabrial The Saint
He’s a grand horse. On his day he’s pretty smart when things drop right. He’s the sort who if he won a big handicap I wouldn’t be surprised. The engine is there.
Gabrial The Wire
A big, strong horse. He had a good season last year and he and 'Saint' are two peas in a pod. They have to go to Chester quite a bit but it will be interesting to see what programme we have to aim for. He could have his big day too.
He completely lost his way last season and it’s something he did on us a few years ago. He’s got himself very well handicapped and if he can bounce back to anything like he was two years ago then we’re going to have some fun. He’s a hard horse to predict over why he loses his way and comes back again, but fingers crossed he does because he’s handicapped to do so.
He had a good season last year, winning at Ripon. He’s back up the handicap and not getting any younger but on his day is still a good, hardy horse.
I really like him and was surprised he didn’t sell when we had him in the sales. He’s a big, scopey horse and there’s definitely a big day in him as he can gallop.
He’s been fine. We’ve only had him a couple of months and we were trying to get him ready for the Chester Cup but that’s gone. We’ll play it by ear but we’ve been happy with what we’ve seen since he came here but we’re just starting to step him up now.
He won the Group Two Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh last year but picked up a penalty for that which made it very tough for him. It’s great winning those races but if they’re not Group One horses it’s a big anchor on them – and he’s not a Group One horse. He’s had some great seasons and paid his way and will hopefully do so again.
Sands Of Mali
He’s in great order and we had him ready for the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster. His work has always been exceptional and I just put last season down to the little setback he had in Dubai. He just never came back from it, I don’t know why, but he’s no back-number. He’s a talented sprinter, as good as we’ve had at home, very enthusiastic and we can get him back right he’ll have a good season.
He’s a good, solid Group horse who has wintered very well and we’re happy with him. I’d been getting his trip wrong and sprinting definitely isn’t his forte. Over nine furlongs in the Strensall at York we rode him to get it which was crazy really as he definitely stays. If we can stretch him out a bit further it opens up options but he’s effective at a mile too and the plan was to start him out in the Lockinge which unfortunately doesn't look like it will happen now.
He is what he is, a horse I expected to win a big handicap but he just doesn’t cut the ice there. We drop him back into a 0-90 and he wins. He needs things to fall right and is a Jekyll and Hyde character for no obvious reason. We’ll try the valuable races again and hopefully one day it will slot right for him.
He had a good season last term. We did his wind having been extremely disappointed with him and while it took him a while to get his confidence, he did come good. He had some good form as a two-year-old and the fact he got down to 65 was incredible really. That’s the frustration of being a racehorse trainer. You’re watching a horse working to 90-plus, struggling in the mid 60s on the track. It took a while to get the confidence back but it came. He’ll be in the better handicaps again now and I wouldn’t run him on ground that’s too firm.
Big, backward horse last year who has matured well and will progress into a decent handicapper. He’s done really well and might even be one for next year.
I like him too. He ran very well to finish third in the sales’ race at Newmarket. He was immature last year and will progress.
He won his maiden at Pontefract last season. He was backward and we minded him last year and we were delighted to see him win. He’s strengthened up and matured over the winter and is a very nice colt.
He’s only rated 80-odd but ran some good solid races and was always going to better at three. He could progress.
Dylan De Vega
It’s going to be tough enough for him, he isn’t the biggest, so he’ll have to wear his heart on his sleeve from his rating. He’ll be aimed at all the good three-year-old handicaps.
I really like him. He’s tough, genuine and has progressed really well over the winter. I was going to run him in one of the trials. He’s going the right way.
He’s a pretty smart colt even though his form might not suggest that. He just tweaked a knee on his final race in France, if you watch it, a furlong out he was barely doing half speed and then just lost his action in the final hundred yards. We’ve taken a chip out and if we can keep him sound he’s definitely one for pattern races.
She took forever to win. I never doubted her but she kept running into some good ones. She got beat at 1/5 at Beverley but I said the winner’s definitely okay and she went out and won the Lowther. My filly is hard as nails and genuine and if she’d get a little further it would help but five furlongs seems to be her trip. It would be great to get a bit more black type but she’ll also be aimed at some of the good sprint handicaps.
He’s done very well over the winter and I was looking forward to running him early on. He’s definitely got quicker and will be one for the good handicaps.
Show Me Show Me
He wanted gelding desperately biut every time I threatened to do it he ran well. We got it done over the winter and it will help him, and it needs to as he needs help from a mark of 101. There are no easy options for him but he’ll find his way.
He had one run in a maiden last year and was just ready for it. He was a big, and I mean big, baby and is a gorgeous horse. When they’re immature you’re minding them but we’re getting stuck into him a little now and I’d say he’s pretty smart.
He’s progressed over the winter and improved all last year, running well in the sales race at Doncaster over a trip that would be his bare minimum. He’s a horse who will get at least a mile and is a nice colt.
He had a good first season and ran some decent races. We were going to aim him at the Free Handicap and go from there but clearly need a new plan. I think seven furlongs will be his trip. He came from the breeze-ups and had that in his mind all the time but this year he’s more relaxed and in great form. He could end up the sort for the Jersey Stakes.
A smart horse who has done extremely well. A couple of days after the Weatherbys Super Sprint he had a little crack in his knee, it didn’t need surgery or anything. He was lame for a couple of days, we X-rayed and found it quickly and pulled up stumps. I’d like to think he could go through the ranks. He’s definitely a Group horse and hopefully a Group One sprinter in the making.
This fellow looks to have done really well over the winter and won at Musselburgh last year before running well in nurseries at York and Ayr. He seems to be getting quicker and was quite immature last year. Hopefully he’ll progress.
We bought more staying types for this year. They’re hard horses to get but there’s a programme set out or them.
We didn’t keep away from the sharp ones but also bought a lot who needed a bit of time so the lockdown hasn’t been a disaster for them.
Tony Hamilton reckons this is the best bunch we’ve ever had – he’s an extremely good judge who doesn’t usually say things like that. I hope he’s right.
Also in the series...
- Mark Johnston Stable Tour
- David O’Meara Stable Tour
- Kevin Ryan Stable Tour
- Karl Burke Stable Tour
- Tim Easterby Stable Tour
- Michael Dods Stable Tour
- Jedd O'Keeffe Stable Tour
- John Quinn Stable Tour
- Brian Ellison Stable Tour
- Ben Haslam Stable Tour
- Phil Makin Stable Tour