Ribchester primed for battle with Churchill in QEII
16 Oct 2017
Another vintage renewal of Europe’s richest mile contest is headed by the continent’s leading miler.
The Richard Fahey-trained four-year-old beat all bar Minding in last year’s renewal and has continued to thrive this year, winning the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, Queen Anne Stakes and, on his latest start, the Qatar Prix du Moulin.
His opponents include some of the key principals from the QIPCO 2000 Guineas – Churchill, and Al Wukair. Churchill, the champion two-year-old of last season, followed up his QIPCO 2000 Guineas win in the Irish equivalent, while Al Wukair struck at the highest level on his latest start when landing the Jacques Le Marois at Deauville.
Aidan O’Brien has four entries to shuffle, including the recent Kindom of Bahrain Sun Chariot heroine, Roly Poly.
Here Comes When, who beat Ribchester by a neck in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in August, and the fast improving Beat The Bank, five-length winner of the Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket last month, are on course to represent Andrew Balding. French challengers have won two of the past three renewals and are set to be represented by Al Wukair.
WHAT THEY SAY:
Richard Fahey, trainer of Ribchester:
“Everything has gone according to plan. He’s a very easy horse to train with no issues, touch wood. I’m able to get the work into him when I want and he’s a very willing horse who enjoys his work, which is a huge help.
“He tends to go on any ground. When he got beaten at Goodwood I’m not blaming the [heavy] ground, I’m blaming the conditions – it was blowing a gale and pouring down with the rain. It was a horrible day. If you’ve ever run yourself in rain and wind, it’s not comfortable and it just caught him out but he’s bounced back and won a Group 1 in France since so we are very happy and comfortable with him.”
Andrew Balding, trainer of Beat The Bank and Here Comes When:
“Beat The Bank has done very well for us this year. He’s been very progressive, seems to handle any type of ground and the way he won the Joel Stakes suggests he might have a chance at the highest level. He won it emphatically and deserves a step up in class. Only time will tell whether he is up to it, but we hope so.
“A lot depends on the weather forecast for Here Comes When, who’s obviously a much better horse when there is a lot of rain around. He’s in great form and is a horse who historically has goes very well fresh. We are very happy not having run since Goodwood.”
ENTRIES IN FULL: