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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.”

Richard Fahey saddles 3,000th British winner

Richard Fahey claimed his 3,000th British winner when Hong Kong Harry scored at Ayr on Tuesday evening.

Based in Malton, North Yorkshire, Fahey has long had a prolific strike rate from his Musley Bank yard.

He has trained more than 150 winners for the past six seasons and in 2015 equalled the record for most winners in a calendar year when saddling 235 – a figure subsequently broken by Mark Johnston in 2019.

Fahey has handled popular equine stars such as Gabrial, Kimberella and Superior Premium as well as top-class performers such as Mayson, Wootton Basset and Ribchester, arguably the best horse he has trained.

Ribchester winning the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot
Ribchester winning the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot (John Walton/PA)

Fahey, who was born in Ireland but moved to Yorkshire when he was 18, told Great British Racing: “I would never have dreamed of reaching 3,000 winners when I started out, to have had 30 would have been enough back then!

“However, I’m obviously delighted to have reached such a fantastic milestone now and the credit must go to all my team as I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.

“If I had to pick one highlight, it would have to be Ribchester breaking the track record in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, it doesn’t get much better than that!”

A former jockey who rode more than 100 winners, Fahey’s training career began in 1993 and just seven years later he registered his first Royal Ascot win through Superior Premium in the Cork And Orrery Stakes.

His tally of 3,000 winners in Britain is made up of 2,859 on the Flat and 141 under National Hunt rules.

Paul Hanagan, who steered Hong Kong Harry to victory, has ridden more winners for Fahey than anyone else, with the pair enjoying 895 successes together.

Hanagan said: “I joined Richard when I was 17 years old and we have both grown together ever since, enjoying some fantastic days and moments together.

“There is no way I would have been able to achieve what I have achieved in my career, for example the two Champion Jockey titles, if it weren’t for Richard.

“We have become great friends and I’m over the moon for him to have reached this fantastic milestone.”

Fev Rover camp eye choice of Group One targets

Fev Rover has either the Irish 1,000 Guineas or the Prix Saint-Alary on her agenda after her big run at Newmarket.

Richard Fahey’s filly outran odds of 22-1 to be beaten only a length and a quarter into third by Mother Earth in Sunday’s 1000 Guineas.

Taking a keen hold from the stalls, Fev Rover disputed the lead for the first five furlongs before crossing the line a neck behind runner-up Saffron Beach.

Nick Bradley’s racing partnership owns the horse, and he was in attendance alongside a clutch of fellow shareholders.

“Fev Rover ran a great race,” he said.

“We decided we wanted to be handy, because there didn’t look to be much pace in the race.

“She was a little keen early doors, but we had her where we wanted her.

“She looked like she was going to drop away, but then she picked up out of the dip and ran really well.”

The daughter of Gutaifan had previously enjoyed both Group and Listed successes, having gained black type form in Sandown’s Star Stakes last season before taking the Prix du Calvados at Deauville.

Bradley has another tilt at Group One glory pencilled in this month, with both the Irish Classic at the Curragh and ParisLongchamp’s Prix Saint-Alary under consideration.

“I haven’t spoken to Richard (Fahey) this morning,” he said.

“But we’ll probably go for the Irish Guineas or the Alary next.”

Should the latter race be targeted, Bradley’s filly is likely to cross paths with another who did his silks proud at Newmarket on Sunday.

Mystery Angel gave rookie trainer George Boughey his highest-profile winner to date when taking the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes under Ben Curtis.

The length-and-three-quarters victory signified a change in fortunes for the daughter of Kodi Bear, who has been narrowly beaten three times in Listed contests.

Her efforts in the Silver Tankard Stakes at Pontefract, the Montrose Stakes at Newmarket and the Prix Rose de Mai all fell just short of the mark, with her subsequent run in the Prix Francois Mathet at Saint-Cloud ending in a fifth-placed finish.

“She’s been really unlucky,” said Bradley.

“From when Frankie (Dettori) rode her at Newmarket onwards, she probably should have won all those races.

Mystery Angel ridden by Ben Curtis wins the Betfair Pretty Polly Stakes during 1000 Guineas Day, part of the QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket Racecourse
Mystery Angel and Ben Curtis won the Betfair Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Things didn’t quite go our way in each circumstance for different reasons, but yesterday she showed everybody how good she was.

“We knew she was that good, but the last one kind of knocked our confidence a little bit.

“She’s obviously a very good filly, and Ben (Curtis) gave her a great ride – the tactics were to take to the front and make it a stamina test.”

Next week’s Musidora Stakes at York is a possibility, but Bradley is more inclined to target the Prix Saint-Alary and a possible clash with Fev Rover.

“She (Mystery Angel) ran a great race and she will probably go for the Alary next,” he said.

“We’ll look at the Musidora, but it’ll probably be the Group One Alary in France.”

Chapple-Hyam thrilled by Guineas runner-up Saffron Beach

Jane Chapple-Hyam saluted the “genius” of Aidan O’Brien as she reflected on the fine run of Saffron Beach to take second in the Qipco 1000 Guineas.

Winner of the Oh So Sharp Stakes last year, Chapple-Hyam’s New Bay filly reappeared on the Rowley Mile in the Nell Gwyn last month when she was second behind Sacred.

Hopes were high for a big performance in the Newmarket Classic, and she duly turned the form around with Sacred – but just found Mother Earth a length too good.

Chapple-Hyam said: “What can I say, Aidan O’Brien is just a genius. He is hard to take on – and I can’t wait for him to retire!

“It would have been the quickest ground she has been on. But she can handle it because she is versatile, as you saw in the Oh So Sharp on good to soft, and she has done it here on the quicker ground.

“We are just all thrilled, and I’m sure the owners are highly delighted because they have got a second in the 1000 Guineas. This time last year, she wasn’t even in training.

“She has seen the mile out 100 per cent. I knew she would get the mile and I know she will get a mile and a quarter as well. They (owners) will tell me where to send her, and I will just get her fit. There is a good one in her.

“We just have to place her properly now and we will see what the team wants to do.”

Richard Fahey was also proud of the third home, Fev Rover, running a storming race to be just a neck behind Saffron Beach and a nose in front of Santa Barbara.

The North Yorkshire trainer said: “We were delighted with her – it wasn’t a truly-run race really.

“Paul (Hanagan) felt the ground was a bit quick for her – she just rolled about a bit – but you’d have to be happy with that.

“She probably will go further in time, and a bit of juice in the ground doesn’t bother her at all.

“She’s in the Irish Guineas, and that was going to be the plan – that or Royal Ascot.

“We will step her up in trip at some stage. We’ll just see how she takes the race.”

Pythagoras brings up Fahey century

Pythagoras gave trainer Richard Fahey his 100th domestic winner of the campaign in the ebfstallions.com Silver Tankard Stakes at Pontefract.

Owned by Sir Robert Ogden, the two-year-old colt is seen by Fahey as a “staying type” for next season, after he gamely stuck to his task to claim these Listed spoils.

Namoos set the pace – but Paul Hanagan, riding Pythagoras for the first time in public, had the 5-1 shot close before making his move over a furlong out.

Mystery Angel and The Rosstafarian pressed hard in the closing stages, but the son of Zoffany would not be denied and won by a neck and a short head.

“We’re delighted for Sir Robert – it was a tough performance,” said Fahey.

“He’ll stay well. It’s desperate conditions there, but he coped with it well enough.

“I’ll get him home first, before making any decisions. I’ll speak to Sir Robert and see what he thinks.

“He’s going to be a staying type – a mile and a quarter mile and mile and a half.

“There is talk about maybe taking him to France in November, but we’ll see how he is.”

Fahey and Hanagan doubled up when Society Queen (10-1) led well inside the final furlong to take division one of the Racing TV On Sky Channel 426 Handicap by a length and a quarter from Wots The Wifi Code.

Stag Horn ran his rivals ragged in the hands of Hollie Doyle to complete a hat-trick with a strong staying display in the Phil Bull Trophy Conditions Stakes.

On her only ride of the day and her first since a famous Group One success and big-race double on British Champions’ Day at Ascot on Saturday, the record-breaking rider made the two-and-a-quarter-mile race a real test from the outset.

Stag Horn comes home well clear under Hollie Doyle to win the Phil Bull Trophy at Pontefract
Stag Horn comes home well clear under Hollie Doyle to win the Phil Bull Trophy at Pontefract (Tim Goode/PA)

Only The Grand Visir was able to live with Archie Watson’s three-year-old – but even he was a spent force in the home straight, with Stag Horn (evens favourite) romping home by nine lengths. There were 32 more lengths back to Fun Mac in third place of the six runners.

“He’s progressive and was impressive at Goodwood last time,” Doyle told Racing TV.

“Stepping up to two miles two today on heavy ground, he seems to thrive in testing conditions – and the further he went the better.

“He’s got quite a high cruising speed for a horse that stays so far, and for those conditions that is what you need.

“At the beginning of his campaign, he used to be quite windy and soft – but he’s making a man of himself now.

“He’s going to be a competitive stayer next year. I don’t know if there are any more options for him for the rest of they year, but I’m sure there’s a bit more developing for him to do.”

Ben Curtis took his tally for the calendar year to 150 with a narrow victory on Rod Millman’s Coul Kat in the Join Racing TV Now Nursery Handicap.

The evens favourite was all out to hold the persistent challenge of The Bravest by a short head.

Curtis completed a double when steering Cockalorum to success in an even tighter finish in the Pontefract Thanks The NHS Handicap.

Roger Fell’s charge just got up to score by a nose from Viceregent, who hung badly left across the track to the far rail, taking the winner with him.

Paul Hanagan secures 100th Ayr win in style

Paul Hanagan enjoyed his biggest success since his return from injury with a hard-fought triumph on Exceptional in the Arran Scottish Sprint EBF Fillies’ Stakes at Ayr.

The two-time champion jockey was sidelined for six months after fracturing his T6 vertebra in a fall at Newcastle in February.

It was fitting Hanagan picked up this Listed prize as it provided him with a 100th career win at the Scottish track.

There were plenty in with chances inside the final quarter-mile but Exceptional (11-2) knuckled down to her task to score by a length and a length and a quarter from the Kevin Ryan-trained pair of Last Empire and Dandy’s Beano.

Hanagan told Racing TV: “I’ve been trying to get it for a while. Obviously I was off injured for a good time. It’s just nice to get 100 winners at Ayr – it’s been good to me over the years.

“The easier ground helped this filly as she was on her head most of the way and I just had to sit and suffer. I think she’ll probably get further.

“She’s a very good filly. She was going away at the end and has a very good attitude.”

Fahey was pleased to see Exceptional gain some valuable black type for her future career as a broodmare for owners Cheveley Park Stud.

“She’s a sweet filly, she’s not had a lot of racing. It’s just nice to see her win a Listed race for Cheveley,” said the North Yorkshire handler.

“There is one more race but we’ll speak to Chris (Richardson) and see.

“It was a good winner to get. They are definitely keeping her for stud so I’m delighted to get that bracket done and she did it well.”

Fahey was completing a double after the victory of Outrun The Storm (18-1) in the EBF Nursery Handicap under Paddy Mathers.

Winter Power showed a terrific turn of foot to take the Listed honours in the Shadwell Stud/EBF Stallions Harry Rosebery Stakes.

The Tim Easterby-trained filly put up a career-best effort on her eighth start to win for a third time as she bounced back from being well-beaten in the Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster a week ago.

David Allan had Winter Power (7-1) well-placed as Rebel At Dawn took the field along before asking her to go and in the race over a furlong out.

She quickly put the race to bed and enjoyed a cosy half-a-length success over Nomadic Empire (5-1). First Company, the 250-1 complete outsider of the party, three-quarters of a length back in third.

Winter Power was a winner at Ayr
Winter Power was a winner at Ayr (Tony Knapton/PA)

“She’s a very good filly. She’s plenty of speed and loved the ground, which we weren’t sure about. She enjoyed it and travelled well through the race,” said Easterby.

“It was a hot race she ran in at Doncaster last week, but she’s got a fantastic attitude. You can back her up and run her quick. It’s not very often you can do that with a filly.

“She’s very fast. She’s in the race at Redcar (Two Year Old Trophy), but we maybe wouldn’t go there and stick to five.”

Jockey Joe Fanning was in fine form, landing an 865-1 treble on Fairmac (10-1), Mondain (11-4 favourite) and Bringitonboris (20-1).

Fahey targets third Ayr Gold Cup with Mr Lupton

Mr Lupton is out to bag his second major prize in the space of a week in Saturday’s QTS Ayr Gold Cup.

Richard Fahey’s sprinter was rated as high as 113 at one stage of his career, but a fairly slow start to the current campaign saw him fall to a mark of 98.

A third-place finish in last month’s Great St Wilfrid at Ripon suggested he was on the way back and he continued his resurgence with victory in the lucrative “Bold Lad” Sprint Handicap on Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh last Sunday.

With talented apprentice Billy Garritty booked for the ride to negate his 5lb penalty, Fahey is hopeful Mr Lupton can provide him with a third victory in this weekend’s Scottish showpiece following the previous triumphs of Fonthill Road (2006) and Don’t Touch (2015).

“He hasn’t done a lot since he came back from Ireland, just a couple of light canters,” said the Musley Bank handler.

“He seems in good form. It’s one of those – you just don’t know until the day, but we’re happy to run him.

“He’s been a star, a legend. It’s amazing. He was bought at a charity function. Out of the charity came a bit of good.”

Fahey also saddles outsider Gabrial The Wire, of whom he added: “He’s a bit hit and miss. A fast-run six-furlong race should suit – it’s just if he’s quick enough to lay up early on.”

Tim Easterby was relieved Staxton made the cut, having decided against running him since winning the Great St Wilfrid last month.

He said: “He’s in good order and I hope he’ll run a good race.

“We took a gamble by waiting for this race. I could have run him somewhere else under a penalty, but I spoke to the owners and we decided we’d wait for this and thankfully he’s just crept in.

“He’s drawn down the middle (15) and I hope he’s got a good chance.”

Seven days on from claiming Classic glory in the St Leger at Doncaster aboard Joseph O’Brien’s Galileo Chrome, jockey Tom Marquand has high hopes of landing another major prize with the William Haggas-trained Nahaarr.

Tom Marquand is looking forward to teaming up with Nahaarr
Tom Marquand is looking forward to teaming up with Nahaarr (Edward Whitaker/PA)

The lightly-raced son of Dark Angel was a runaway winner at Newbury in July before finishing ninth when favourite for the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood.

“He’s a really good ride to have. I think we’ve got drawn pretty well in 13, so I’m looking forward to riding him,” said Marquand.

“He’s a horse with lots of ability. He didn’t handle Goodwood all that well in the Stewards’ Cup and I just hope this can be a bit of a bounce back from that run. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be.

“Fingers crossed things can go our way.”

The formidable combination of trainer Andrew Balding and champion jockey Oisin Murphy is represented by Stone Of Destiny, who bids to follow up his win in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster last Saturday.

Balding said: “He won the Portland well and although this is a little bit further for him, he is a good horse when everything drops right – that is the key to him.

“He needs a strong gallop to aim at, which is what he will get at Ayr, but he doesn’t want the ground too soft.

“The Portland was the aim, but we decided this was worth having a go at afterwards.”

David O’Meara fires a four-pronged assault, with top-weight Gulliver joined by stable companions Arecibo, Cold Stare and Young Fire, while Kevin Ryan has three runners in Bielsa, Hey Jonesy and Major Jumbo.

Jedd O’Keeffe’s Air Raid and the David Barron-trained Another Batt also feature in what is always a fiercely competitive affair.

Rhythm Master back out in Mill Reef

Prix Morny third Rhythm Master is one of eight colts declared for the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

A runaway winner on his racecourse debut at Haydock in mid-July, Richard Fahey’s son of Dark Angel subsequently ran an excellent race to place behind a couple of Royal Ascot winners in Campanelle and Nando Parrado when stepped up to Group One level at Deauville.

The John Dance-owned juvenile will be well fancied to get back on the winning trail in this weekend’s Group Two feature in Berkshire.

Rhythm Master’s rivals include the unbeaten Bahrain Pride. Simon and Ed Crisford’s inmate made a successful start to his career at Windsor before following up in the Listed EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy last month.

Andrew Balding’s Fivethousandtoone was runner-up to Bahrain Pride at Windsor and renews rivalry off the back of a dominant display at Newcastle a little over a fortnight ago.

Line Of Departure completed a hat-trick for Roger Varian in a valuable sales race at Doncaster last week and is swiftly stepped up to Pattern class, while Mick Channon will be hoping his Group Three winner Cairn Gorm can bounce back from a below-par effort in the Morny.

Alkumait (Marcus Tregoning), Devilwala (Archie Watson) and First Edition (Clive Cox) complete the octet.

The Charlie Hills-trained Equilateral, not beaten far into sixth place in the Flying Five at the Curragh last Sunday, heads a nine-strong field for the Group Three Dubai International Airport World Trophy.

The five-year-old is taken on by Cox’s recent Leicester scorer Tis Marvellous, Charlie Appleby’s Lazuli and Moss Gill from James Bethell’s yard, among others.

Group Three honours are also up for grabs in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup – formerly The Arc Trial.

The likely favourite for this one-mile-three-furlong contest is Extra Elusive, who bids to complete a Group Three hat-trick for Roger Charlton and Hollie Doyle follow strikes in the Rose of Lancaster at Haydock and the Winter Hill at Windsor.

With the William Haggas-trained Addeybb and Balding’s Fox Chairman instead declared to run in Saturday’s Doonside Cup at Ayr, Extra Elusive faces just three opponents in Desert Encounter (David Simcock), Elarqam (Mark Johnston) and Gifts Of Gold (Saeed bin Suroor).

Paul Hanagan sets sights on 100th win at Ayr

For Paul Hanagan just to be riding at this year’s Ayr Western Meeting is an achievement in itself, but he is also on the verge of a landmark winner at the Scottish track.

The two-time champion jockey was out of action for six months earlier this year after fracturing his T6 vertebra in a fall at Newcastle in February, and some even doubted if the 40-year-old would return.

But return he has, and after a slow start he is now back among the winners, with one more victory at Ayr required for a century at the venue – while he is also approaching 2,000 career winners.

In typically self-effacing style, though, he deflects plenty of the praise on to trainer Richard Fahey, with whom he has had a long and successful partnership.

Fonthill Road (far side) won the Ayr Gold Cup for Hanagan and Fahey
Fonthill Road (far side) won the Ayr Gold Cup for Hanagan and Fahey (Chris Clark/PA)

“It’s always a week we look forward to, we’ve had a lot of success there. Richard fires a lot of bullets at it, but you’ve still got to win the races and we’ve managed to have a bit of luck,” said Hanagan.

“It seems like yesterday, winning the Ayr Gold Cup on Fonthill Road – it’s startling to think it was back in 2006. Winning it is one of my career highlights, there’s no doubt about it, up the north it’s like winning the Derby.

“It’s a really classy race now, you’ve almost got to be a Group horse to win it and if anything, it’s getting stronger every year.

“It’s nearly at the end of a long season for a lot of horses when you think in a normal year it begins in March, so it’s a good training feat to get your horse to Ayr still in top form – that’s why I hold Richard in such regard, his seem fresh when they get there.

“I think the fact I’ve done so well at Ayr comes down to the fact I’m riding for Richard and I just go out full of confidence, which is a massive thing. I know the track well as I’ve been riding there so long.

“I love going up there, the crowd are so knowledgeable and they don’t talk from their pocket – it’s a different feel up there. That’s why it’s going to be so strange this year. Because of my injury, I’m still not really used to the empty stands – it’s very strange.

“Jockeys, like footballers, feed off an atmosphere and energy. I noticed it most at Chester where they are normally on top of you. We need to get the crowds back soon.”

Hanagan’s injury was serious enough to give him time to reflect on what he has achieved in his career to date and there was plenty to look back on, not least being champion in 2010 and 2011 and his spell as retained rider for owner Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Taghrooda won the Oaks and King George for Hanagan
Taghrooda won the Oaks and King George for Hanagan (Adam Davy/PA)

He said: “In the time I was off, I had plenty of time to reflect. I’ve got two boys who are 10 and 14 now and it was nice to reminisce a little with them because as they get older, they understand and take a bit more of an interest, so it was nice to tell them I wasn’t so bad!

“I thought about a lot while I was off. It was nearly six months and it was touch and go whether I would make it back at all, so I did have a look back at what I’d achieved.

“I had people telling me if I didn’t make it back, I should be proud of what I’d achieved and that was nice to hear.

“I suppose I’ve had the best of both worlds in quantity and quality. Being champion a second time was tough, I gave it everything, racing around the country. I loved the buzz, but it was really 24/7.

“You’ve got to take into account how much racing there is these days and the constant travelling and the amount of traffic. You’d get to the races with minutes to spare, give a horse a bad ride and be kicking yourself.

“It’s mentally challenging, so the Hamdan job came at the perfect time really. Riding the likes Taghrooda, Mukhadram and Muhaarar was brilliant.

“Wootton Bassett, who was my first Group One winner, was a great horse for Richard, unbeaten at two and to see that Coolmore have bought him as a stallion now, he could go right to the top given the mares he’ll be getting.

“Unfortunately for me, Muhaarar was retired at the end of his three-year-old season as Shadwell had no real stallions to speak of, so he went to stud at the same time as Mukhadram, which meant we had nothing for the big races the following season!

Paul Hanagan with Richard Fahey and Wootton Bassett
Paul Hanagan with Richard Fahey and Wootton Bassett (John Giles/PA)

“I enjoyed going out to Dubai as well. I took my family out, the kids went to school out there and I think I went out for about five years (during the Carnival). It was amazing.

“I won some of the biggest races at the Carnival and had a four-timer one night – I loved it.”

When the sun does eventually set on Hanagan’s career, it will be for his relationship with Fahey that he will be mostly remembered.

“I’d like to think my partnership with Richard has been one of the great ones,” said Hanagan.

“I’m not one for patting myself on the back, but I’m not from a racing background. My dad had a brief flirtation, but I’ve had to do it the hard way.

“I wouldn’t be in this position without Richard, but I also owe a lot to Malcolm Jefferson, God rest his soul, who gave me my first job when unbelievably I wanted to be a jump jockey. Thankfully my weight stayed low and he passed me on to Richard.”