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Fev Rover chasing international glory in Bahrain

Richard Fahey breaks new ground when Fev Rover takes her chance in the Bahrain International Trophy at Sakhir racecourse on Friday.

The 1000 Guineas third will be the North Yorkshire trainer’s first runner in the £500,000 contest, and is expected to relish conditions.

Fahey, whose filly will be ridden by Paddy Mathers, said: “I know she won the Prix Calvados on soft ground, but she’s a filly I’ve always wanted to get on quick ground. I’ve only had two opportunities this year and she was third in a Guineas and second in a Group Two in Ireland.

“She’s also a filly I’ve really wanted to step up in trip, but I’ve just never had the opportunity. Every time I found a race for her, it has rained all week, so it’s bound to rain before the race tomorrow!

“I do feel a mile and a quarter is where she needs to be. She’s been crying out for 10 furlongs. She needs to improve, but she might.”

David O’Meara’s globetrotting stalwart Lord Glitters was fifth last year. He has a 3lb penalty for his Group One win in the Jebel Hatta in March.

O’Meara said of Jason Watson’s mount: “I certainly think he still retains his ability. He had a very good winter in Dubai after running fifth in this race last year, and he was second to a progressive Godolphin horse (Real World) giving weight in the Group Three Strensall Stakes at York.

“His couple of races after that haven’t exactly gone to plan but he’s an old horse now and he feels his joints, so he likes the warmer weather.”

Four Godolphin contenders for the Group Three contest represent three different trainers, including Charlie Appleby with Barney Roy (James Doyle) and Zakouski (William Buick).

Appleby said: “We’ve been purposefully working back from the Bahrain International as it’s a race which is great to be part of. I was pleased with his comeback run in the Group Three Darley Stakes, on a track which doesn’t suit him.

“We got what we wanted out of it and hopefully he now has his racing brain back and engaged. I think the style of the race will suit him in Bahrain. It’s a slick track there and the tight turns will suit him. If he goes there with his old A-game, he’s going to be a big player.”

He added of Zakouski: “He’s been a competitive horse who we’ve seen mainly in Dubai. He’s another horse who I feel the conditions of the race will suit and I’m looking forward to running them both.”

Andre Fabre’s Magny Cours (Mickael Barzalona) ran a huge race to be third in Dubai World Cup and was second to Champion Stakes runner-up Dubai Honour in the Prix Dollar, while Saeed bin Suroor’s Sheema Classic fifth Dubai Future has the assistance of Frankie Dettori.

Like Fahey, Charlie Hills is happy to see fast ground for Pogo (Kieran Shoemark), last seen finding only Benbatl too good in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket.

He said: “Pogo needs fast ground. It looks like there will be plenty of pace on and the track should suit him.

“He’s been third in a Group One and his last run, placed in a Group Two, was as good as any. A lot of the track is downhill and if ever a horse is going to go a mile and a quarter, this is probably one of the tracks they should try it on.

“It suits the speed horses. We ran Afaak here two years ago and he was fourth, and he was a miler.”

Perfect Power plans undecided after Middle Park triumph

Perfect Power might be put away for the winter after chalking up a second Group One success at Newmarket on Saturday.

The Richard Fahey-trained colt has won four of his six starts in his juvenile campaign, including the Middle Park Stakes and Deauville’s Prix Morny at the top level.

Perfect Power has had a busy season, having competed in Group Twos at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood earlier in the summer.

Whether he does run again this term has yet to be decided as Fahey has not yet spoken to owner Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum.

“He’s come out of it well. I’m pleased with him. He’s a pretty straightforward guy to deal with,” said the Musley Bank handler.

“I’ve got to speak to Sheikh Rashid. We haven’t really sat down and had a chat yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he was probably finished for the year.”

As for 2021, Perfect Power will probably start off in a Classic trial to see how he fares over further than six furlongs.

“We’ll run him in one of the trials. We’ll see how he winters first and just get him going and see which route we’re going,” Fahey added.

Perfect result for Fahey in Middle Park

Christophe Soumillon produced Perfect Power with a flawlessly-timed run to get the best of a blanket finish in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Richard Fahey’s charge already had a Group One victory on his record as he landed the Prix Morny last time out, and he was sent off the 11-4 favourite to follow up in this six-furlong affair.

Soumillon was towards the rear through the early stages as Go Bears Go and Twilight Jet went toe to toe up front, setting a sound gallop, although the challengers were lining up in behind as the field approached the two-furlong marker.

Twilight Jet did his best to fend them off, but Armor, Asymmetric and Caturra all put the pressure on before Perfect Power came with a precision burst down the middle of the track.

He surpassed them all to steal a half-length verdict, with Castle Star also finishing with purpose from the rear to take second.

Armor was third, with Go Bears Go rallying again to snatch fourth.

Perfect Power halved the winner in price to 8-1 for the 2000 Guineas, while Coral go 10-1 about his chance in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

A relieved Fahey said: “I’ve been watching racing all week and when we got stall one I thought ‘someone down there doesn’t like me!’.

“I was very negative in my own mind, but he is a special horse. The way he quickened up today – it took a special ride and a special special horse to win like that today.

“We knew were struggling from the draw and Christophe said ‘I’ll drop him right out today’. I said ‘you do what you like, kid!’.

“He’s a ball of a horse who has had a busy enough time. When you go to Royal Ascot, then you go to Glorious Goodwood and then Deauville and then here, it’s tough – but he loves it.

“With two furlongs to run I thought we were in a bit of trouble, but when he pulled him out he picked up very well.”

He added of the future: “We had a board meeting about two months ago and we said we’d go Richmond, Deauville and then here. We haven’t got any further than that.

“For a two-year-old, he’s very special. He’s very easy and has a super mind. When he’s not exercising he eats and then goes to sleep.

“He could step up (in trip) on pedigree. His sire (Ardad) was a fast two-year-old and we don’t know much about his progeny, but on the dam’s side we’ve every chance of staying.”

Power poised to prove top of the class in Middle Park

Perfect Power will cement his position as the pre-eminent juvenile over six furlongs this season if he can come out on top in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Richard Fahey’s Ardad colt won the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in June from Go Bears Go, who quickly franked the form in the Railway Stakes in Ireland.

Perfect Power was then strongly fancied in the Richmond at Goodwood – but wherever the luckless Paul Hanagan went that day, he seemed to find trouble and was beaten just over a length into fifth behind Asymmetric.

He was extremely impressive in the Prix Morny at Deauville, however – displaying an electric turn of foot under Christophe Soumillon, who keeps the ride.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed, but we’re going there very hopeful,” said Philip Robinson, assistant racing manager for owner Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum.

“Obviously we were all delighted with the success in France, and Richard says he has got him spot on – he’s very happy with him.

“Hopefully he’ll win while the owner is in town. The hope is he’ll be there, and it will be great if he can win while he is.

“He’s won on quick ground at Ascot, so that won’t be a worry to him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they put a bit of water on because it’s been a bit breezy.

“Good, fast ground should be perfect. It’s what you want for a meeting like this, when you are trying to find the champions.”

While Perfect Power remains over six furlongs for now, the hope is he may stay further next season.

“Obviously we’re hoping he’s not just a two-year-old,” added Robinson.

“At this stage, whether he’ll stay any further we’ll just have to play it by ear, but we know he’s got plenty of speed.

“We’ll hope he gets a mile and we’ll maybe start off looking that way. We might find out a bit more in this, and we’ll see how he handles the track.

“With a horse of his calibre, you are always hoping they will be OK for the Guineas.”

One horse who looks sure to stay further next season is the Ger Lyons-trained Dr Zempf.

Fourth in the Railway Stakes on just his second start, he turned that form around with Go Bears Go and Castle Star in the Phoenix – in which he found only Ebro River too strong.

“His work has always been impressive, but we’ve always trained him with next year in mind,” said Lyons.

“I’m happy going into the Middle Park – I’m not saying he’ll win it, but he’ll be competitive. He’s always showed quality.

“I would much rather be going over seven furlongs with him, but we are erring on the side of weakness at the moment. Colin (Keane) has always said ‘stick to six with him for the moment’.

“I think it is the six furlongs that has been getting him beat up to now. Colin said he would reverse the form of the Railway Stakes, and he was right, but then we bumped into one in the Phoenix.

“The Dewhurst is not out of the question. We’ll see what happens on Saturday – he’s had a light season, and I can’t wait to see him over seven.”

Go Bears Go is already a big-race winner on his travels to Ireland
Go Bears Go is already a big-race winner on his travels to Ireland (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

David Loughnane remains convinced there is a Group One in Go Bears Go, who has had a break since the Phoenix.

“He’s not let us down yet, so it’s all systems go,” said Loughnane.

“He was my first runner in a Group One in the Phoenix when he was third, and he’s my only one.

“The winner franked the form in the National Stakes, so we’ll be going confident that he’s a Group One horse.

“He seems in a great place. We gave him a little break for a freshen-up after the Phoenix, and I couldn’t be happier with him at the moment.

“It’s a tough race, but he is definitely a Group One horse, so fingers crossed he gets the rub of the green.”

Clive Cox and Adam Kirby with Caturra at Doncaster
Clive Cox and Adam Kirby with Caturra at Doncaster (Mike Egerton/PA)

Clive Cox is rolling the dice with Caturra, who finished strongly to deny Morny fourth Armor in the Flying Childers over five furlongs at Doncaster.

The Lambourn trainer said: “Obviously this is another step back up in trip to six furlongs – but with the dry ground and his well-being, I’m pleased that we’ve got an option to run at the next level, having won his Group Two.”

Armor tries again for Richard Hannon, with the Morny form further represented by Alan King’s Asymmetric – who was third at Deauville.

Fozzy Stack’s Castle Star renews rivalry with Go Bears Go and Dr Zempf, and Aidan O’Brien has an interesting contender in HMS Endeavour – who has won the last two of his three starts.

The Michael O’Callaghan-trained Twilight Jet was third in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster and adds further strength to the Irish challenge, which is completed by another O’Brien runner in the shape of the twice-raced maiden New York City.

Toro strike proves notable for Fahey at Goodwood

Toro Strike boosted his chances of contesting the Breeders’ Cup with a record-breaking performance in the Weatherbys Hamilton Supreme Stakes at Goodwood.

The four-year-old covered the seven furlongs in one minute 23.62 seconds to take the Group Three prize and go one better than 12 months ago.

Toro Strike was the first leg of a 15-minute across-the-card double for trainer Richard Fahey, with the victory of the Al Shaqab Racing-owned colt seeing the North Yorkshire handler reach 100 winners for the 14th year in a row – and it was not long before Kingson made it 101 at Beverley.

The son of Toronado was steered home by Ryan Moore, who was in action in New York on Saturday night when he was second on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Japan in the Grade One Sword Dancer Stakes at Saratoga.

He delivered the 7-2 shot with a powerful run to storm past Double Or Bubble in the final furlong and land the spoils by two lengths.

“That’s the 14th year in a row we’ve had 100 winners, it’s amazing,” said Fahey.

“Toro Strike just loves fast ground. We’ve been a bit unlucky with him. Sometimes we’ve entered him and it’s not worked out. On his day he’s pretty smart – when he gets everything right and comes off a strong pace it always seems to suit him.

“The Breeders’ Cup has been discussed. I’ve been talking about it with Alison (Begley, Al Shaqab’s racing manager), but we needed a good performance to get in it. We think it would suit him well.

“The Foret, you imagine, the ground (at ParisLongchamp) would be too slow for him. He loves quick ground and he seems to want a bit of time between his races.”

Atalanta’s Boy (10-1) registered a fifth course success when winning the tote.co.uk Handicap for the second year running.

David Menuisier’s seasoned sprinter broke well from the stalls to lead early and maintain the gallop to score by half a length from Able Kane in the hands of 3lb claimer Thomas Greatrex.

Menuisier said: “He’s had his issues with stalls and being a bit too wound up before his races, so we’ve been working hard on this in the last month and it’s paid off. I’m delighted.

Atalanta’s Boy registers a fifth win over Goodwood's six furlongs
Atalanta’s Boy registers a fifth win over Goodwood’s six furlongs (Steven Paston/PA)

“He loves the course, he goes on any ground. Unfortunately he is his own worst enemy when he loses concentration, but on a good day he’s very hard to beat.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do next because of his problems with the stalls, so we take it step by step. I would probably avoid those big handicaps from now on and keep him in smaller handicaps or even try him in better opposition.

“He could go to France. Sometimes those races can be a bit weak at times. I’d be happy to try him there.”

Able Kane’s jockey Oisin Murphy was banned for two days (September 12 and 13) for using his whip above the permitted level in the final two furlongs.

Berkshire Rebel (right) nails the odds-on Firth Of Clyde to make a winning debut in the  tote EBF Restricted Maiden Stakes at Goodwood
Berkshire Rebel (right) nails the odds-on Firth Of Clyde to make a winning debut in the tote EBF Restricted Maiden Stakes at Goodwood (Steven Paston/PA)

Murphy made amends on Berkshire Rebel (9-1), who caused a surprise on his debut when overturning 4-7 favourite Firth Of Clyde in the tote EBF Restricted Maiden Stakes.

Andrew Balding’s Sir Percy colt got the verdict by a short head after a terrific tussle in the closing stages of the one-mile event.

The champion jockey doubled up on Aggagio (13-8) in the tote.co.uk Selling Stakes for trainer Sophie Leech.

The three-year-old gelding was snapped up for 23,000 guineas afterwards as an “impulse buy” by Gary Robinson – whose wife was in the toilet at the time and returned slightly bemused at the news.

Archie Watson’s Luna Magic (4-1) was awarded the tote Placepot First Bet Of The Day Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap following an inquiry after being beaten a short head by first past the post Zlatan, trained by Ed de Giles.

The stewards found Zlatan had drifted left-handed carrying Luna Magic, ridden by Brodie Hampson, off his intended line. The placings were reversed and Zlatan’s jockey Sophie Smith was handed a two-day ban for careless riding.

Robert Havlin was another jockey to be handed a two-day ban for using his whip above the permitted level, after winning the Chichester City Handicap on Highland Rocker (2-1) for John and Thady Gosden.

Perfect Power storms to Prix Morny glory

Royal Ascot winner Perfect Power returned to winning ways as he displayed an electric turn of foot in the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville.

Richard Fahey’s juvenile had won the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot when beating Go Bears Go, who has gone on to frank the form.

Last time out Perfect Power ran at Goodwood in the Richmond Stakes and suffered all manner of traffic problems before flashing home to be beaten just over a length by Asymmetric.

With Christophe Soumillon doing the steering on this occasion, the Ardad colt yet again had a far from straightforward path. But he was good enough to extricate himself in time.

Fellow Ascot winner Quick Suzy was to the fore for much of the way, but the Queen Mary winner failed to see out the sixth furlong.

Asymmetric was given every chance by Martin Harley, but he had no answer when the eventual winner and Andre Fabre’s Trident came bursting through in the last 100 yards.

Perfect Power and Trident had a barging match over a furlong from home, but once they settled down to battle it out the Yorkshire raider was well on top at the line.

Fahey said from his North Yorkshire base: “That was nice to watch – well, he had that bit of trouble about two out, but when he got in the clear he was good.

“He’s got a proper turn of foot and his best part of the race was the end of it.

“It’s a great result for the whole team and especially Sheikh Rashid (Dalmook Al Maktoum).”

Betfair and Paddy Power halved Perfect Power in price to 4-1 for the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket next month.

Fahey added: “He’ll definitely go for the Middle Park next. It’s not often you make a plan for a horse, but the two races myself and Sheikh Rashid mentioned were the Morny and then the Middle Park and it’s very nice to have one in the bag already.

“We can forget Goodwood now. Things didn’t go right there, but it’s called racing for a reason.

“That was brilliant today.”

A jubilant Soumillon said: “At the beginning things didn’t pan out perfectly because I found myself a bit far back. Going to the final 600 metres, I had the choice of either challenging wide or coming alone with a run in the middle of the track.

“Honestly speaking, I trusted my instinct – I didn’t try to think too much. On the inside, everyone seemed to be cantering and, when my horse reacted, he clicked into gear like a machine!”

Harley said of the Alan King-trained Asymmetric: “He ran well and travelled well during the race. My horse was a bit unsuited by the ground (too firm for his liking)
before making his effort. We had a shower of rain an hour before the race. I thought it would help, but it didn’t as the ground dried out.

“With 200 metres to go, I really thought we were going to win. When I asked him to pick up, he couldn’t change gear in this ground. However, it was a great performance. His next race will be the Group One Middle Park Stakes.”

Fahey fires twin assault on Prix Morny prize

Perfect Power and Khunan give Richard Fahey a strong hand in the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville.

A narrow winner of the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in June over the high-class Go Bears Go, Perfect Power then got into all sorts of traffic problems in last month’s Richmond Stakes at Goodwood and was beaten just over a length into fifth place.

Khunan was not far off his stablemate when sixth in the Norfolk, and turned the tables in the Richmond when he filled the runner-up spot behind the Alan King-trained Asymmetric – who is also in Sunday’s Group One field.

Fahey said: “We’ve got the two horses in there, and they both go there in good order. We just need a bit of luck now.

“They tell me it’s beautiful ground. I wouldn’t want it too extreme, but hopefully it will be fine.

“Things didn’t go the way we would have liked for Perfect Power at Goodwood, but that’s horse racing I’m afraid.

“The other horse wasn’t far behind him at Ascot and was in front of him at Goodwood, so it’s one apiece.”

Asymmetric with connections after winning at Goodwood
Asymmetric with connections after winning at Goodwood (John Walton/PA)

Asymmetric’s Richmond win was his third from just four career starts, his only defeat coming when narrowly beaten by Lusail in the July Stakes at Newmarket.

King said: “He’s been very good since Goodwood and has arrived safely.

“He’s obviously the quickest two-year-old I’ve ever trained. That’s probably not saying a lot – but he’s won his Group Two, and it was either run in the Gimcrack with a penalty or take him to France for a crack at this.

“The forecast looks quite encouraging – the better the ground, the better I think he’ll be, so it’s very exciting.”

The British challenge is completed by Richard Hannon’s pair of Armor and Gubbass.

Armor steps up in trip after winning the five-furlong Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood, while Gubbass was third in the Richmond.

Hannon said: “Armor is in great form and it looks like there is some rain on the way which will help him.

“Gubbass won’t be out of place, either.”

Irish hopes are carried by Gavin Cromwell’s Quick Suzy and the unbeaten Velocidad from Joseph O’Brien’s yard.

Quick Suzy steps up to take on the colts on her first start since winning the Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal meeting.

Gavin Cromwell (right) with Quick Suzy at Royal Ascot
Gavin Cromwell (right) with Quick Suzy at Royal Ascot (David Davies/PA)

“She’s in good shape, and we’re happy with her,” said Cromwell.

“The ground is good to soft and potentially could be good ground come Sunday. Either way it’s fine.

“Stepping her back up to six furlongs shouldn’t be a problem – it’s an easy six in Deauville as well.

“The fillies have a good record in the Morny, and last year’s Queen Mary winner (Campanelle) followed up here, so fingers crossed.”

Perfect Power primed for Prix Morny

Richard Fahey is keeping his fingers crossed for a change of luck for Perfect Power when he contests the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville next week.

A narrow winner of the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in June over the high-class Go Bears Go, the Ardad colt got into all sorts of traffic problems when bidding to add to his tally in last month’s Richmond Stakes at Goodwood and was beaten just over a length into fifth place.

That form has been well advertised since, with Hugo Palmer’s fourth home Ebro River claiming Group One honours in last weekend’s Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

Perfect Power will head to France in a bid to open his account at the highest level, and Fahey is delighted with his current condition.

“Everything that happened (at Goodwood), you’d probably have preferred it not to have happened, but he’s in great order,” the trainer told Sky Sports Racing.

“He heads to France for the Prix Morny on Sunday week.

“I think he’s a talented horse. At the moment, we’re all beating each other when you look at the two-year-old form.

“I’m sure he’s up near the top of the best ones, so let’s hope we get a bit more luck in France.”

Still good things to come from Fev Rover – Fahey

Richard Fahey retains all his faith in Qipco 1000 Guineas third Fev Rover.

The filly was subsequently well fancied for the Irish Guineas, but finished only 10th behind Empress Josephine and was then sixth of 11 as Alcohol Free won the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

A Group Two winner in France last year, Fahey believes a step up in trip may see her return to form.

“She’s had a sinus problem since her last run, so hopefully we’ll get that tidied up and I still haven’t given up on her,” said Fahey, speaking at the launch of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, which runs from July 17-25.

“I might just step her up in trip. She wants fast ground. I know she’s won on soft, but every time I enter it rains. The only time we’ve run her on decent ground was in the Guineas when she ran a blinder.

“We’ll get her back, she’s not finished yet. I’ve got her in the Nassau, but I’d say that will be a warm race, the Falmouth was a warm race, too.

“As a Group Two winner last year I can’t really drop her in grade to find an easy race and get her confidence back, so she’s got to bat away at the highest level.”

Another of Fahey’s good juveniles last season was Rhythm Master, who was third in the Prix Morny and the Mill Reef and hinted at a return to form when fourth in the Jersey Stakes at the Royal meeting.

Rhythm Master winning on debut at Haydock
Rhythm Master winning on debut at Haydock (Steve Davies/PA)

“He’s been very hit and miss this season,” said Fahey.

“He’s got a bad attitude before the race. You see him on a morning and he’s a perfect gentleman, but when he gets to the races he’s thinking of everything bar racing.

“I thought he ran a great race in the Jersey and he’s a solid horse, but he just lets himself down badly at the races.

“I’m just hoping his last race will have made a man of him and help him grow up. He is talented. I just hope he matures.

“He’ll be in the Lennox at Goodwood, but I think he is ground dependent, he doesn’t want it too quick.”

Perfect Power in line to be supplemented for Phoenix Stakes

Royal Ascot winner Perfect Power could be supplemented for the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on August 8.

Richard Fahey’s youngster prevailed in a tight finish for the Norfolk Stakes at the big meeting last month.

With a Group Two penalty for that success, however, connections are now favouring the Irish assignment over the Gimcrack at York and the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood.

“Because he’s a Group Two winner it makes it a bit tougher, so there’s talk that we might supplement him for the Phoenix on August 8,” said Fahey, speaking at the launch of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival.

“He’s in the Gimcrack, he’ll be put in the Richmond, but the owner (Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum) is keen on the Phoenix as he’d have penalties in the other two.

“He’s ready for six furlongs now, I nearly ran him in the Coventry but we had one in that already (Vintage Clarets) and I wanted to separate them.

“He’s a good-minded horse, real laid back. He’s a powerful sort, a strong two-year-old. He’s a big, strong horse and fairly forward.

“I was surprised he was beaten on debut, but that probably helped win him the race at Ascot as it meant he could have that second run without a penalty. Sometimes you have to get beat to win and that was the perfect example.

“The form is absolutely rock solid and five furlongs is his bare minimum, he’s ready for six now.”

Fev Rover tries again for Classic honours at the Curragh

Richard Fahey is keen to give Fev Rover a second tilt at Classic glory in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

The sole British-trained runner in a field of 14 fillies, the daughter of Gutaifan arguably sets the standard on this season’s form, having finished an excellent third in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket three weeks ago.

Fev Rover is set to encounter very different conditions on Sunday, however, with heavy rain in recent days ensuring the ground is testing at the home of Irish Flat racing.

Fahey said: “I believe they’ve had an awful lot of rain, and I’m a little bit worried it might be off, but she has to travel.

“There’s more forecast, but it’s one of those situations where we have to go and see what happens.”

While Fev Rover’s tremendous Newmarket effort came on a fast surface, she did win the Group Two Prix du Calvados at Deauville last season on ground officially described as ‘very soft’.

“I’ve been preaching all winter that I want to get her on better ground, and here we are running on heavy – but she has had experience of it, so she’ll handle it as well as most,” Fahey added.

“I was keen to get her to the Curragh, because I just thought the track would suit her.

“We’ve been pleased with her since Newmarket – she’s a pretty straightforward girl.”

Pretty Gorgeous winning the Fillies' Mile at Newmarket
Pretty Gorgeous winning the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Joseph O’Brien is confident of a bold showing from Pretty Gorgeous, who has not been seen since winning the Fillies’ Mile last autumn after an unsatisfactory scope ruled her out of the Guineas at Newmarket.

O’Brien told Betfair: “Pretty Gorgeous is obviously one of our most exciting prospects for the season, having won the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last season. She just wasn’t quite right prior to the 1000 Guineas, so we played it safe with her and didn’t run.

“Given how firm the ground was, missing it might have been a blessing in disguise. We know from last year that she handles soft ground well, and we’ve been very happy with her in the last couple of weeks.

“She looks in great order now and will hopefully produce a big effort. Her juvenile form entitles her to be right in the mix, so hopefully she runs a big one.”

O’Brien also runs a pair of outsiders in Sense Of Style and Thinking Of You, ensuring he matches his father Aidan’s three-pronged assault.

O’Brien senior’s chief hope appears to be Joan Of Arc, who impressed in the Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown a fortnight ago.

“She’s a sister to Gleneagles, and he didn’t like it soft, but she won her maiden when it was soft – so at least we know she goes on it,” said the trainer.

“Like with most of ours this weekend, she’d much prefer better ground, but we do at least know she’s gone on it before – even though it was only a maiden.

“She’s got a beautiful pedigree.”

Empress Josephine and Friendly complete the Ballydoyle trio, while Jessica Harrington saddles both No Speak Alexander and Zaffy’s Pride, who finished first and second in Leopardstown’s Athasi Stakes this month.

Of No Speak Alexander, Harrington said: “I’m not saying she will win, but she’ll be in the shake-up.”

Miss Amulet (right) finishing second in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket
Miss Amulet (right) finishing second in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Miss Amulet was declared a non-runner in last weekend’s French 1000 Guineas because of unsuitably soft ground, but trainer Ken Condon will let her line up this weekend.

The daughter of Sir Prancealot will be making her first competitive appearance since finishing third at the Breeders’ Cup in November – finishing on the heels of Newmarket Guineas heroine Mother Earth.

“It’s the last Classic she can run in, and she’ll take her chance,” said Condon.

“The two-year-old career she put together means she deserves her chance in a Guineas.

“There are genuine concerns about the ground – and as a consequence, the trip is going to be in more focus.

“The filly has trained nicely and is in good form. We’ve a good man riding her (Colin Keane), and she’s drawn around fancied horses, and we’re looking forward to seeing her back.”

Pretty Gorgeous returns in Irish 1,000 Guineas

Pretty Gorgeous and Fev Rover are among a 14-strong field for the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained Pretty Gorgeous is set to make her first appearance since winning the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket in October, after an unsatisfactory scope led to her late withdrawal from a return trip for the 1000 Guineas three weeks ago.

O’Brien will also saddle Sense Of Style and Thinking Of You.

Richard Fahey’s Fev Rover finished a close-up third over the Rowley Mile at the start of this month, but can expect to encounter far more testing conditions in Ireland this weekend. She is the sole British-trained representative in the line-up.

Aidan O’Brien, who won the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket with Mother Earth, will run three in the Irish equivalent.

The Ballydoyle handler’s chief hope appears to be Joan Of Arc, who impressed in the Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown this month. She is joined by stablemates Empress Josephine and Friendly.

Ken Condon has declared Miss Amulet, who was taken out of last weekend’s French 1000 Guineas because of unsuitably soft ground.

Jessica Harrington runs No Speak Alexander and Zaffy’s Pride, with Belle Image (Sheila Lavery), Fantasy Lady (Paddy Twomey), Sweet Gardenia (John Joseph Murphy) and Sziget (David Bergin) completing the line-up.

Aidan O’Brien is responsible for three of the eight runners in the Tattersalls Gold Cup – but the brilliant filly Love is not one of them.

Serpentine winning last year's Derby at Epsom
Serpentine winning last year’s Derby at Epsom (Bill Selwyn/PA)

Last year’s 1000 Guineas and Oaks heroine will have to wait to make her seasonal reappearance – with her trainer instead relying on Broome, Serpentine and Tiger Moth.

Broome is unbeaten in three starts this season, while last year’s shock Derby winner Serpentine runs for the first time since finishing fourth in October’s Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Dermot Weld’s dual Irish St Leger scorer Search For A Song steps back in distance after finishing second in Listed company at Leopardstown last week – while Willie Mullins saddles True Self, who was last seen claiming a lucrative success in Saudi Arabia.

Noel Meade’s Helvic Dream, the Andrew Slattery-trained Sunchart and Cayenne Pepper from Harrington’s yard are the other hopefuls.

Irish Guineas tempting for Fev Rover camp

Fev Rover appears increasingly likely to have a second tilt at Classic glory in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

A winner at Listed and Group Two level as a juvenile last season, the Nick Bradley Racing-owned filly ran an excellent race in defeat for trainer Richard Fahey in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket at the start of this month – finishing a close-up third behind Aidan O’Brien’s Mother Earth.

Coronavirus restrictions make a trip across the Irish Sea a little more complicated than would usually be the case, but connections are keen to run on Sunday.

Bradley said: “Fev Rover is all good – she worked yesterday (Tuesday) and worked well.

“We are going to make a final decision on Thursday morning – but right now, I suspect we’re going to run.

“After the Guineas she had a few extra days in her box, but she worked well earlier in the week.

“With the current situation in the world, you don’t really want to be going to Ireland and France if you can help it. That said, this is the last 1000 Guineas of the season and it looks like a good spot for her.”

If Fev Rover is given the green light for an Irish trip, Bradley believes she should prove “hard to beat” in her bid to become the first British-trained winner of the race since Just The Judge in 2013.

He added: “The ground is probably not going to be ideal – it looks like it’s going to be on the soft side.

“I think it’s either run in Ireland or wait for the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot – and taking everything into account, I suspect we’ll be running this weekend.

“I think a reproduction of her run at Newmarket would make her hard to beat.”

Mr Lupton adds York landmark to Fahey celebrations

Fresh from celebrating his 3,000th British winner on Tuesday evening, Richard Fahey saddled his 150th success at York when stable favourite Mr Lupton won the Churchill Tyres Handicap.

Now an eight-year-old, Mr Lupton has mixed it with some of the best sprinters around down the years but has always enjoyed the cut and thrust of big handicaps.

He had only four of the 18 runners behind him with a little over a furlong to run, when Bielsa hit the front, but he quickened up well under Paul Hanagan.

Woven, Danzan and 125-1 outsider Zargun all still had a chance – but Mr Lupton eventually won going away by a length. Danzan beat Zargun a nose for second, with it all getting a bit tight close home.

“That’s great to get 150 here. I’d like to get it again – but that probably won’t happen,” said Fahey.

“It wasn’t really until this morning I realised there are a lot of trainers I hold in very high esteem and have a lot of respect for and aren’t on the list.

“We’ve just got to carry on. I was still up at 10 to 4 this morning, so it makes no difference.”

“To do it with Mr Lupton is nice. He’s been a legend for us and has won some big races. He loves it when they go quick up front.

“I tipped it on the radio this morning, so I’ll be a hero!

“He’s getting too old for Group races. I’ll probably stick him in he Wokingham and see what happens.”

Ilaraab ridden by Tom Marquand (left) streaks clear to win the opener
Ilaraab, ridden by Tom Marquand (left), streaks clear to win the opener (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Ilaraab had earlier taken his winning streak to six with an impressive performance in the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap.

The William Haggas-trained four-year-old ended the 2020 campaign with victory over the extended 10 furlongs on this course in October, and showed he was still on the upgrade when destroying this field of seasoned handicappers.

Tom Marquand had the son of Wootton Bassett in the last half dozen as Sam Cooke made the running with My Frankel and Glasses Up in the front rank.

Sam Cooke was reeled in at the business end, and Raymond Tusk hit the front, but llaraab (7-2 favourite) made relentless progress down the outside and was soon in control.

He bounded clear in the final furlong to score by three lengths from 40-1 runner-up Raymond Tusk. Throne Hall was half a length away in third place, with Win O’Clock fourth.

Marquand said: “The ground is drying out, and it could almost do with a sprinkling of rain to loosen it out a little.

“You wouldn’t know where the ceiling is for this lad – you couldn’t say he was putting it all on the line to get in front there.

“It wasn’t as if he got there on the bridle, and I almost expected him to do that. I’d only had the chance to win on him once, but he’s always impressed me in that he’d just do enough to win. I guess that is why he has won six on the bounce and still doesn’t look fully exposed.

“It’s a blessing that he’s got that trait, really.”

Haggas was not at York but said: “I don’t know what we’ll do with him next. I think the Hardwicke would be too big a jump straight away and the Tapster (at Goodwood) is too close. I’ve just got to dot a few I’s and cross a few T’s.

“Ground is important to him I think, today’s was as quick as he’d want it.”

Wobwobwob streaks clear at York
Wobwobwob streaks clear at York (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Marquand doubled up aboard the Adrian Keatley-trained Wobwobwob in the Sky Bet Handicap.

Third at Newmarket’s Craven meeting on his latest outing, the 7-1 shot went a couple of places better with a three-and-a-quarter-length verdict over Northern Express.

Keatley said: “We’ll take our time and see what the weather does, but first of all we’ll see what the handicapper does.

“One day he might be one for the Lincoln or something like that.

“He needs cut in the ground, so the handicaps over seven furlongs and a mile at the start and end of the season might suit.”

Bryan Smart was emotional following the victory of Project Dante (7-2) on debut in the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes.

The Showcasing juvenile sported the colours of the late Reg Bond, with whom Smart went back a long way.

“He’s a lovely horse and he’s been very professional since we got him,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.

“When Reg was still alive he told me to go and buy him some nice horses. I did – we’ve run two, and they’ve both won (Bond Chairman the other), and we’ve two more to come.

“We’ll wait and see about Ascot – there’s a lot more to come from him, he looked a bit porky in the paddock. He’s tough, which is what you need in a two-year-old. That looked a hot race.

“We were all in tears. Reg and his family left me for a time, and these are the first ones since they came back.”

Flyin’ Solo made it two from two on turf when running away with the Conundrum HR Consulting Handicap.

David Menuisier’s four-year-old, who had won one of his four starts on the all-weather before last month’s Newbury success, outshone his 18 rivals.

Leading two furlongs out in the hands of Rossa Ryan, the 3-1 favourite scooted clear and was not hard pressed to score by two lengths from Propriety.

Ryan said: “From his maiden when he won, he would probably be unbeaten, but his next two runs on the all-weather caught him out.

“His transition to the grass has gone really well. I always thought he would be better on the grass.

“David thought a mile and a quarter might be a bit short. The last day we got away with it. Over a mile and a half, you’ve seen the true horse.

“He travelled super. I was able to put him where I wanted, but I had to do it the hard way. I had to go the long way round, but he’s going the right way.”

Ilaraab makes it six of the best

Ilaraab took his winning streak to six with an impressive performance in the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap at York.

The William Haggas-trained four-year-old ended the 2020 campaign with victory over the extended 10 furlongs on this course in October, and showed he was still on the upgrade when destroying this field of seasoned handicappers.

Tom Marquand had the son of Wootton Bassett in the last half dozen as Sam Cooke made the running with My Frankel and Glasses Up in the front rank.

Sam Cooke was reeled in at the business end, and Raymond Tusk hit the front, but llaraab (7-2 favourite) made relentless progress down the outside and was soon in control.

He bounded clear in the final furlong to score by three lengths from 40-1 runner-up Raymond Tusk. Throne Hall was half a length away in third place, with Win O’Clock fourth.

Marquand said: “The ground is drying out, and it could almost do with a sprinkling of rain to loosen it out a little.

“You wouldn’t know where the ceiling is for this lad – you couldn’t say he was putting it all on the line to get in front there.

“It wasn’t as if he got there on the bridle, and I almost expected him to do that. I’d only had the chance to win on him once, but he’s always impressed me in that he’d just do enough to win. I guess that is why he has won six on the bounce and still doesn’t look fully exposed.

“It’s a blessing that he’s got that trait, really.”

Haggas was not at York but said: “I don’t know what we’ll do with him next.

“I think the Hardwicke would be too big a jump straight away and the Tapster (at Goodwood) is too close. I’ve just got to dot a few I’s and cross a few T’s.

“Ground is important to him I think, today’s was as quick as he’d want it.”

Trainer Richard Fahey celebrated his 3,000th British winner on Tuesday evening at Ayr and carried his good week forward when 14-1 shot Mr Lupton won for the fourth time on the Knavesmire in the Churchill Tyres Handicap – giving the trainer his 150th victory at York.

Now an eight-year-old, Mr Lupton has mixed it with some of the best sprinters around down the years but has always enjoyed the cut and thrust of big handicaps.

He had only four of the 18 runners behind him with a little over a furlong to run, when Bielsa hit the front, but he quickened up well under Paul Hanagan.

Woven, Danzan and 125-1 outsider Zargun all still had a chance – but Mr Lupton eventually won going away by a length. Danzan beat Zargun a nose for second. with it all getting a bit tight close home.

Fahey said: “Fantastic. He’s a wonderful horse. He’s an absolute legend.

“It was great to get the 3,000 up – and now it’s great to have a winner here.

“I tipped it on the radio this morning, so I’ll be a hero!

“He’s getting too old for Group races. I’ll probably stick him in he Wokingham and see what happens.”

Reflecting on his 3000-winner milestone, Fahey added: “It wasn’t really until this morning I realised there are a lot of trainers I hold in very high esteem and have a lot of respect for and aren’t on the list.

“We’ve just got to carry on. I was still up at 10 to 4 this morning, so it makes no difference.”