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Fearby firing on all cylinders for Mill Reef test

Trainer Ed Bethell reports Fearby in fine shape for the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

A Listed winner at Sandown earlier in the season, Fearby has subsequently finished second in the Molecomb and fourth in the Gimcrack.

“After the Gimcrack, this looked the next logical target really,” said Bethell.

“We could have gone to France but we thought we’d stick around in England.

“It’s going to be a competitive race, as you’d imagine for a Group Two. But he’s going there in good form after a little freshen-up after York, and I’m really looking forward to it.

“I would imagine he’d be one of the more fancied runners, and he’s in very good order.”

Dhabab, last seen finishing third to National Stakes winner Native Trail, also features among 17 possibles on Saturday.

John and Thady Gosden’s youngster was a debut winner at Leicester before claiming sixth in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Clive Cox has three contenders at this stage in Crazyland, Dark Swansong and Wings Of War, while Michael O’Callaghan could once again bring Twilight Jet over from Ireland after solid runs in the Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes.

Last year's Champion Stakes winner Addeybb could run this weekend
Last year’s Champion Stakes winner Addeybb could run this weekend (Mike Egerton/PA)

Gis A Sub, Gubbass and Khunan bring top form to the table – while Hugo Palmer has supplemented Hierarchy, after he was third in the Sirenia Stakes.

The Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup, previously known as the Arc Trial, sees William Haggas’ Addeybb top 12 entries.

On this weekend last year he won the Doonside Cup at Ayr, and he has also been entered in that same race once more, with Haggas no doubt aiming him at the most suitable going.

Haggas has two more contenders in Al Aasy, gelded since last seen, and Ilaraab, a huge disappointment when favourite for the Ebor.

Khaadem was impressive at Doncaster last week
Khaadem was impressive at Doncaster last week (Mike Egerton/PA)

Derby also-ran John Leeper has the same two options as Addeybb – and Andrew Balding has entered Bangkok, Foxes Tales and Fox Tal.

Solid Stone and Star Safari are also possibles – while in the Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes, Haggas’ Portland winner Hurricane Ivor could be out again quickly.

Charlie Hills’ Khaadem, another winner at the St Leger meeting, Balding’s King’s Lynn and Tis Marvellous, the Beverley Bullet winner, are among 11 entries.

Fearby and Moss Gill set to fly flag for Bethell at York

Ed Bethell has his sights set on this month’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival with his stable stars Fearby and Moss Gill.

The Middleham-based trainer is aiming Dragon Stakes winner Fearby at the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes, with Moss Gill on course for the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes – in which he was a fine third to Battaash 12 months ago.

Fearby was last seen finishing second to Armor in the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood, and is expected to be suited by a first attempt at six furlongs.

Bethell is in his first season with a licence after taking over from his father, James.

He said of Fearby: “He ran very well at Goodwood. Maybe the draw bias played against us – he was a bit centre pack, rather than up that rail, while there was a strong head wind that day.

Fearby showed his ability in the Dragon Stakes at Sandown
Fearby showed his ability in the Dragon Stakes at Sandown (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“We didn’t get any cover – that’s nobody’s fault, but just the way the race panned out. Would we have beaten the winner had we had a similar draw to him? It’s difficult to know.

“I was very happy with the way he ran – obviously we would have loved to have won, but the step up to six should be right up his street.

“He’s come out of that race really well – he’s very fresh. They’ll go a nice, good gallop on the flat six at York – and I hope he’ll hit the line strong.

“He’s not really ground dependent. He’s won on good to firm; he’s won on good to soft and he’s been second on soft. You’d almost think he needs a bit of rain, but I think you’ll see a better horse on a faster surface.”

Bethell revealed the £150,000 Group Two contest has been on the long-range radar for Fearby.

He added: “The owners are a northern-based syndicate, we’re a northern-based yard – and it was always the aim after he won the Listed race at Sandown to go for the Gimcrack. That’s been his main target this year.

“York is where we want to have winners – it’s where our catchment area is and it’s where all of our owners want to have runners. It will be a big thing for me to get the monkey off my back and saddle my first winner there.”

Fearby will be running at York for the first time, but Moss Gill has a long-standing affinity for the Knavesmire – most recently going down by just a length to smart filly Winter Power in the City Walls Stakes.

Bethell said: “I said to the owners we would work back from the Nunthorpe this year.

“His last run was probably his best run – giving Winter Power a lot of weight, having missed the break half a beat. He was only beaten a length and was closing towards the end of the race.

“The weights in the Nunthorpe play more into our hands than hers. While the opposition will obviously be different, with Suesa and Golden Pal potentially coming over … the absence of Battaash throws the race wide open.

“I think we’re an honest 10-1 shot – I wouldn’t expect us to be any shorter, but I wouldn’t expect us to be any longer either.

“He loves the track, and I’ve done a bit of stalls work with him to try and hit the lids a bit better. If we can do that, jump on terms and sit on the tails of the leaders, I think we can give them a little bit to worry about – given the way he’s come out of his last race.”

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday August 18 to Saturday August 21.

Moss Gill primed for City Walls defence

Moss Gill is reported to be in tip-top condition ahead of his attempt to win the John Smith’s City Walls Stakes at York on Saturday.

The No Nay Never gelding took the Listed contest 12 months ago before going on to finish third to Battaash in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes back at York in August.

The five-year-old looked like he was coming back to his best when only beaten a neck by King’s Lynn in the Achilles Stakes at Haydock on his latest start.

Moss Gill pleased his trainer Ed Bethell in a workout last week and the North Yorkshire handler is expecting a big run from his smart sprinter.

“He ran a good race behind King’s Lynn and I’d say that was pretty rock solid. He was unlucky twice at Ascot and I would think he should run a big race,” he said.

“There are a few higher-rated than him, including Winter Power and Dakota Gold. They will be tough to take on, but he galloped last week and went really well. I think he’s going there with a big chance – and he loves the course.

“Soft ground would be fine. I’m hoping it dries to good to soft, but not sure it will. I don’t think the ground will raise any issues.”

Fearby was an impressive winner at Sandown
Fearby was an impressive winner at Sandown (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Bethell revealed he has given his exciting two-year-old Fearby an entry in the Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes at York next month.

The Havana Gold colt gave Bethell, who took over the licence from father James this season, a first Listed success when winning Listed Dragon Stakes at Sandown last week.

“He was brilliant He’s come out of the race absolutely fine, but no firm plans,” he said.

“He’s been entered in the Gimcrack and I think the six furlongs there would be right up his street.”

Fearby roars to victory in Dragon Stakes

Ed Bethell’s debut season was given another highlight when Fearby ran out a convincing winner of the Coral Dragon Stakes at Sandown.

Fourth on his debut at Newcastle, in which Royal Ascot winner Perfect Power was just one place in front of him, he was a comfortable scorer at Wetherby last time out.

This represented a big step up in class to Listed level, but PJ McDonald was bold on the Havana Gold youngster.

Having hit the front at the furlong marker when heading Mojomaker, it was then taking the way he pulled five lengths clear.

Fellow northern raider Kaboo was sent off the 15-8 favourite on the back of a promising debut at Ascot, but found things happening too quickly and finished third behind the 13-2 winner.

For Bethell, who only took over from his father, James, at the turn of the year at Thorngill House in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, it was a first stakes win having also won the Spring Mile at Doncaster with Artistic Rifles.

“He’s a bonny little horse, but he is going to grow a bit and I’m delighted – he couldn’t do any more than that,” said Bethell.

“I came here hopeful he’d run a nice race, but that’s a surprise how we’ll he’s done it.

“His work was very good in the spring and he came alive before going to Newcastle, which turned out to be a very good race, and then duly obliged at Wetherby

“He’s improved since then, he’s actually been working with Moss Gill’s lead horse, that’s how fast I thought he was. I’m surprised how far he won, but not that he’s won.

“I’ll take him home, think about the Molecomb but there’s a race closer to home over six furlongs which might suit better called the Gimcrack. We’ll see, he’s just started to grow so we’ll see what the owners want to do.”

He added: “I can’t quite believe how the season is going, the team at home do a wonderful job and I’d be nowhere without them.”