Ribchester (right) reversed Goodwood form with Galileo Gold (left)
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Mark Scully 3:02PM 14 AUG 2016
Report: France, Sunday
Deauville: Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard – Jacques le Marois (Group 1) 1m, 3yo+ no geldings
RICHARD FAHEY hailed Ribchester the best horse he has ever trained after he built on his fast-finishing third in last month’s Sussex Stakes to land the spoils for Godolphin under William Buick, who has clocked up the air miles over the weekend.
Buick flew into France having partnered Tryster in the Arlington Million in Chicago on Saturday evening and the jockey made the arduous journey count, delivering Ribchester to perfection to land the son of Ifraaj’s first Group 1 success.
In a race in which many took a keen hold, it was Arod who set the early tempo under Jamie Spencer, with Ribchester in his slipstream and Galileo Gold, one place ahead of Ribchester at Goodwood, also not far off the pace.
The alarm bells were ringing from some way out for the Hugo Palmer-trained 2,000 Guineas winner though, as Frankie Dettori began to ask some serious questions with more than two furlongs to run.
As Galileo Gold was swallowed up by his rivals, it was Ribchester and local hope Vadamos who quickly asserted, the pair pulling away before battling all the way to the line.
The Jersey Stakes winner ultimately prevailed by half a length, continuing the wonderful record of three-year-olds against the older generations in Group 1s this season.
Ervedya took third, another length and three quarters away, with Galileo Gold only eighth.
Fahey ‘on top of the world’
The win was a first in the Deauville feature not only for Buick but for trainer Richard Fahey.
“It’s brilliant,” said Fahey. “I’m on top of the world and it’s just nice to see the horse win a Group 1.
“He’s a horse with an awful lot of speed and he’s very talented. As we’ve seen, he’s improving with racing and I felt today he was a better horse than he was in the Sussex.
“I wasn’t worried [about racing so soon after the Sussex Stakes] as we minded him a bit after the Guineas and we just felt he was getting better and stronger.
“He had to dig deep today and he came out with flying colours.”
The trainer identified the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot over a mile on British Champions Day as Ribchester’s next target but also praised his charge’s versatility.
“I’d say he’ll end up in Ascot now but he’s got enough speed for six furlongs as well [as seven],” said Fahey.
“He’ll definitely be in training [at four] and I really feel that next year he could be the real deal. He’s the best we’ve ever had, he’s got everything.”
Paddy Power responded to the victory by trimming Ribchester to be their 2-1 favourite for the Ascot contest from 3-1.
‘The only disappointing race of his life’
In contrast with the delight felt by Fahey, Hugo Palmer was left to wonder what went wrong for his star Galileo Gold, with the Newmarket trainer suggesting Sunday’s race may have come too soon.
“He has run the only disappointing race of his entire life,” said Palmer.
“This is a horse who started his career in May of his two-year-old career and ran five times. That was his fifth race of the year and he has stepped up to the plate on each and every occasion he has ever run, apart from today.
“That is obviously disappointing. It was very close on the heels of Goodwood and maybe because we didn’t have enough time with him at home he was a bit fresh today.
“He was too free in the early part of the race. Starting like that he didn’t finish out his race like the Galileo Gold that we have all come to know and love.”