Juddmonte International could feature in long-term plans for Ribchester

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Sun 21 May 2017

By Andy Stephens

Leading miler Ribchester is likely to be given the chance to shine over further at some stage this season with a tilt at the Juddmonte International at York in August likely to come into consideration. 

The Richard Fahey-trained four-year-old was an impressive all-the-way winner of the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes on testing ground on Saturday and his connections are convinced he will stay further.

John Ferguson, Chief Executive and Racing Manager of Godolphin, has even suggested there is a possibility of him stepping up to a mile and a quarter for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot next month, although the Queen Anne Stakes 24 hours earlier remains his far more likely next assignment.

Ribchester is a top-priced 15-8 for the Queen Anne, but is 16-1 for the Prince of Wales’s.

"My first reaction is that we remain at a mile but he is a horse that William [Buick] has always said would get a mile and a quarter,” Ferguson said. “So we have the Queen Anne and Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot to think about.

"It is dead exciting - his run in Dubai definitely gave us encouragement and something we have to talk about is the distance he races over.

"While he is winning over a mile like this, it is hard to change but I think he will definitely get further. I think he is one of those very special horse who go on any ground.

"The thing about this horse is that he appears to be getting better and better. We are thrilled with him."

Fahey has trained about 1,000 winners since 2012, the year he saddled his only previous domestic Group 1 winner in July Cup winner Mayson.

He admitted: "I was quite nervous. I don't do nerves but it was a big day and you want to perform and, thank God, he did.

“I have to speak to Sheikh Mohammed and John Ferguson and we will work from there but I would love it in my mind to think that he would stay a mile and a quarter one day. We don't need to go there at the moment, but it looks the obvious step now.

"The Juddmonte International at York was on my mind over the winter.

"As you saw at Newbury, he appreciates a long straight and he stays well - you could see in the Lockinge how well he saw out his race. So maybe York could suit but that's a long way off."

David Simcock, trainer of the second, Lightning Spear, and third, Breton Rock, was delighted with the performances of his challengers.

"I am very proud of both of them - they ran really, really well,” he said. "Lightning Spear did get tired in the last half-furlong because of the round and it being his first run of the year. We were beaten by an exceptionally good horse, who probably did have a fitness advantage over us.

"Breton Rock has probably run to his best mark and he is a lovely horse to have around."

Lighting Spear is 12-1 for the Queen Anne, in which he was third last year.

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