Richard Fahey no concerns on ground or draw for Breeders' Cup Mile

Fri 3 Nov 2017

Watch Alex Steedman's interview with Richard Fahey on Ribchester's chances in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Del Mar on Saturday and read Oliver Brett's preview.

Richard Fahey is itching to see his gifted miler Ribchester show his class on a true surface after a season in which he has been largely forced to cope with unsuitably soft ground.

The Godolphin-owned colt produced a terrific performance to win the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June but the four other European Group One races he has contested have all been on soft ground - and in spite of those conditions he won two and came second twice.

Europe's star miler has been allotted stall 10 under William Buick as he attempts to end his lucrative racing career on a high before stallion duties call.

Ribchester has been on the go since March, when he was third in the Dubai Turf, but the long campaign has not left a mark, according to the trainer.

"He travelled real well, I didn't have as good a flight as him! I always say horses travel better than us, they're better prepared for it,” Fahey told Racing UK.

"We're not doing a lot with him. He ran 12 days ago in the QEII - we just want to get him in and out and make sure he doesn't pull a shoe off. He's eating, drinking and we're very happy.

Ribchester - Del Mar - Penelope Miller Ribchester is the only horse to not be on Lasix, the diuretic, in the Mile. (Penelope Miller/ABR)

"Without being rude I left [the decision to race] to the horse. He's decided he's coming here. When you're in the position you're in you're looking for a reason not to come and I couldn't find it - he's eating well and trotted up well after Ascot.

"I would love to get him back on a quicker surface. Through no fault of his own every time there was an entry it rained. The only chance we had of getting decent ground was at Ascot and it was just the way he travelled through that race - it's not very often at Royal Ascot you can pick the winner, especially in the Queen Anne, three out and he was cantering."

In a turf allowance optional claimer on Friday Ritzy AP beat Lazzam from respectively stalls 11 and 10, and Fahey hopes Ribchester's wide draw will not be too problematic.

"Whether he can do it round two tight turns I don't know but we'll see," he added.

"Stall 10 is not ideal but there's a lot of pace in the race. Luckily I rode out about 26 years ago here and it's not impossible to come from off the pace. You've just got to ride for luck a little bit and see what happens."

Ribchester is a best-priced 7-2 shot for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Mile, with the in-form World Approval, trained by Mark Casse, the 3-1 favourite.

There are seven Europeans in the Mile with Aidan O’Brien stacked with Roly Poly and Lancaster Bomber.

Roly Poly has been a revelation for trainer Aidan O'Brien, winning three times at the top level, including a victory over subsequent Queen Elizabeth II Stakes heroine Persuasive in the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

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"She's a very solid filly and has progressed with every run. It's amazing what she's done this season," O'Brien told At The Races.

"She isn't the biggest, but there have been a lot of great horses over the years that have shown they don't need to be big to be great.

"She has pedigree, ability and courage which are probably all more important than size.

"I don't think she's far off the best in Europe over a mile. Her draw (12) doesn't look ideal, but we'll see what Ryan (Moore) makes of it.

"A mile on fast ground is just what she wants."

O'Brien also runs Lancaster Bomber, who could not handle the soft going in the QEII.

Lancaster Bomber - Del Mar - Penelope Miller:ABR Lancaster Bomber warming up at Del Mar this week. (Penelope Miller/ABR)

"He just got stuck in the ground at Ascot, but he's a hardy horse and has been in good form since," he said.

"He gets a mile well. Fast ground will suit him and he's just a good solid horse."

Home Of The Brave also prefers a lively surface and his trainer Hugo Palmer expects him to act on the track as well.

"The short is very straight and the turns are very tight and he's a neat, nimble horse who I think will get round really well," said the Newmarket handler. 

"The fast ground is definitely what suits him.

"I think we're right to be in the race and right to fancy our chances."

The other UK representative is David O'Meara's Suedois, who landed the Grade One Shadwell Mile at Keeneland a month ago.

Jockey Danny Tudhope told Racing UK: "It's going to be tough but I'm happy with the draw (eight).

"He's in the middle of them and should have enough gate speed as he's been running over six furlongs.

"It might play into our hands and the track does favour front-runners. We're very hopeful."

Mark Casse sent out Tepin to lift this prize two years ago and is looking to repeat the trick with World Approval, who had Lancaster Bomber back in second place when winning the Woodbine Mile in September.

World Approval - Del Mar - EclipseSportswire World Approval is the 3-1 favourite for the Mile (Eclipse Sportswire)

He said: "I've heard so much about Ribchester and he is an extremely good horse, but he is beatable. 

"A couple of years ago the Europeans came over and said they were going to beat Tepin and she showed them different."

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