A dazzling display from Richard Fahey and his team saw unparalleled success at Ayr’s Gold Cup meeting, with Don’t Touch taking the showpiece event and maintaining his unbeaten record.
It came as no real surprise that Fahey found success at Ayr on Saturday, but to take four of the eight races including the Silver and Gold Cups was beyond all expectations for the Yorkshire based trainer. Those heroics backed up a treble on Friday and a further winner on day one of Scotland’s most prestigious Flat meeting.
At Newbury the yard also sent out Ribchester to win the Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes. Recently acquired by Godolphin, the colt was an impressive winner and could develop into a serious Guineas contender next spring.
Fahey’s success certainly created the headlines over the weekend, and in Don’t Touch he has a sprinter that looks sure to progress to Pattern class in time. But it’s a horse that finished behind Fahey’s star that forms the thread for the bulk of today’s piece.
Buckstay was very much an eye-catcher on Saturday when a fast finishing fifth in the Ayr Gold Cup. Unfortunately for Peter Chapple-Hyam’s gelding, the finishing line came all too soon. The horse has progressed steadily throughout the summer and clearly remains on a winnable handicap mark. Just one victory from 19 turf starts belies his talent, and he should go close when stepping back up to seven furlongs for his next engagement at Ascot in the Totescoop 6 Challenge Cup.
What the long-term future holds for Buckstay is an interesting one? He is owned by Fitri Hay, who also had an incredible weekend with wins for The Corsican in the Arc Trial at Newbury and the progressive gelding Scottish in the Doonside Cup at Ayr. She also owns the talented National Hunt chaser Argocat, and I wonder if she could be tempted to send Buckstay into that sphere over the winter. He certainly has the stature to cope with such a switch.
He is the son of Lawman, a stallion that has had a successful spell of late, especially with the juveniles. A double at Windsor earlier in the month came from Roger Charlton’s Quick March and the Luca Cumani trained Four On Eight. The latter in particular looks a useful colt. He chased home a talented Hannon juvenile in August, before finding the extended trip at Windsor to his liking. He looks a horse with a bright future.
Lawman himself proved to be a late developer running just the once at two. Trained in France by Jean-Marie Béguigné, he won the Prix du Jockey Club and Prix Jean Prat as a three-year-old. Sent off one of the favourites for the Prix du Jockey Club of 2007, he was ridden Frankie Dettori, and leading from the start he won by a length and half from the talented colt Literato.
Lawman was expected to run in the Irish Champion Stakes over what appeared to be his optimum trip, before a likely tilt at the Arc. Unfortunately he got an infection, which forced an early retirement.
Purchased by Ballylinch Stud in County Kilkenny he has proved a successful stallion. He has sired a number of high class performers including the St James’s Palace Stakes winner Most Improved, and the Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Just the Judge. Not unlike their father, both proved at their best at around a mile or 10 furlongs.
Coincidently, on the day that Lawman’s juveniles were finding success at Windsor, up in Scotland Gordon Elliott was winning a juvenile hurdle at Perth with Officer Sydney. The gelding by Lawman out of a Pivotal mare was making it two from two over the sticks, carrying the familiar colours of owners Mr and Mrs Rooney.
It will be interesting to see how Lawman’s progeny adapt to the new code and if the talented Buckstay finds himself skipping over an obstacle or two during the coming months.