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Ribchester set Lockinge target

22 Mar 2017

Godolphin-owned colt has Newbury on agenda after Dubai World Cup night

Ribchester Lockinge

Trainer Richard Fahey says that Ribchester could appear in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes following a run at Meydan this weekend.

The four-year-old is second favourite for the Dubai Turf this Saturday, but with options limited for the Godolphin colt, Fahey has earmarked Newbury as the potential destination of his first run back in Britain this year.

Speaking to Dubai Racing Club, Fahey said: “To be honest, there was no pressure from Godolphin to come here. I wanted to and John [Ferguson, Godolphin Racing Manager] agreed. The better the horse, the less good races there are for them. There is the Lockinge in the middle of May and it’s either run there or run here so we’ll probably do both.”

Ribchester won the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at the track in September 2015 and was promptly snapped up by Godolphin ahead of his three-year-old campaign. It proved to be a shrewd acquisition as he went on to become a star of the QIPCO British Champions Series last year, finishing third in both the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and the Qatar Sussex Stakes, where he flew home in spectacular fashion.

He hit the crossbar once again on QIPCO British Champions Day when he was beaten into second in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes by the brilliant Minding.

A Group 1 victory squeezed in between Goodwood and Ascot in France in the Jacques Le Marois confirmed his ability, but Fahey admitted his frustration at having not landed one of the big domestic prizes with his stable star.

“He’s been a frustrating horse really. He did win his Group 1 but you felt he was a little unlucky in the Sussex. It was his first time around a turn and it was nobody’s fault, it just happened and he ran well in the Champion [Stakes].”

Having ran with such distinction last season, it was a relief for all racing fans to see Ribchester kept in training for this campaign and he will get it underway by stepping up in trip in Meydan to 1m1f.

“I feel he will stay. His dam won over 1m and a half so there’s every chance of staying. Iffraaj [his sire] does get all sorts – sprinters and stayers. If he settles, he’ll stay. He has solid Group 1 form and we just hope he performs on the day. He was the joint top rated three-year-old in Europe last year, so it just depends if he can compete against the older horses. We’ll learn about that on Saturday.”