Richard Fahey: My Ascot Team
Richard Fahey: My Ascot Team
By Richard Fahey


Preparations for my Royal Ascot team have been going well, we’ve had no hitches, no issues at all and the ground doesn’t seem to be a problem so we’ve had a wonderful build-up. It’s just whether they are good enough now in one of the toughest and most competitive weeks of the year.

Our first runner of the meeting is Gabrial in the St James’s Palace Stakes.

It’s been well documented that we supplemented this fellow for the race and I’m delighted’Dr Marwan Koukash decided to have a punt at it. It’s a terrible thing to say but there is no Frankel this year so we’ll see what happens.

He’s got a great draw and as long as he can take advantage it should work well. If he got placed we’d be over the moon. He’s got to get out of the traps quickly from stall one and he did miss the beat a little bit at Haydock but his class got him through.

He’s got to step up again but I am buoyed by the apparant lack of a superstar in the field. Power is the one to beat but the rest of us are in a bunch behind. Let’s hope it’s us that can come out of the pack.

Do I think Polski Max can win a Windsor Castle Stakes? Probably not. But he’s a very genuine horse and is entitled to be there so we’ll take a punt and see what happens.

He’s a strong, mature colt and at this time of the year that’s quite an advantage and I’m sure he’ll finish his race off. He won a six-furlong race at Southwell so if he can lay up early on he has a chance of being placed.

I’m a little bit worried about the draw there but nobody knows the best place to be as it changes from meeting to meeting. If we’re drawn on the right side he has a chance.

Barefoot Lady goes in the Windsor Forest Stakes on Wednesday and I think the track will suit her a lot better than Epsom did.

If they go flat out I think she’ll stay on well and she’ll have a chance of winning so we’ll roll the dice again. She’s got a nice little draw, hopefully she’ll do everything right and they go a good gallop.

If it turns into a battle I’d fancy her. One thing she does do is battle.

It’s the Champions League of racing for us and if she got placed or even won I’d be delighted. She stays further which could well help her but the most important factor is her ability to go on the track.

Some horses just don’t like it but one of her best races last year was in the Coronation Stakes so we’ve no worries on that score. She’s tough and genuine and those qualities always give you a chance.

I’ve three in the Royal Hunt Cup and it seems a very open race this year.

Primeval doesn’t run which leaves it wide open, a very competitive handicap, I can’t see one that might be lurking as a potential group performer.

All three of mine have been winning and performing well this year. Brae Hill won the Lincoln and gets the trip well, he loves these big fields and has a sqeak.

Justonefortheroad has won a couple of races this season and is rated 99 and I’d never have thought he’d win a handicap off that mark, but he ran well at York the other day.

But out of my three the one that might have a couple of pounds in hand is Common Touch. Paul Hanagan rode him in work last weekend and he was delighted with him, so he chose to ride him here.

He’s just come to himself in the last couple of weeks so we’re hoping for a good run from him.

Justonefortheroad is drawn far side, Common Touch is in the middle and Brae Hill is stands’ side so hopefully one of them is in the right place! You can normally knock half of the field out of the race afterwards when you watch it back, it does seem to have a bias.

It will be interesting this year as they haven’t watered and it should be even stevens everywhere. We shall see. It’s a hard racetrack to get to grips with and I’m sure the bookies love it.

Hopefully by Wednesday we’ll have an idea where the best place to be is and we’ll work our way from there.

I’m running Ladys First from 5lb out of the weights in the Sandringham Handicap which is normally a big no-no for’me, but I was delighted with her at Doncaster and felt she would win another race.

I was hoping she’d be in off her correct weight but we’re giving them 5lbs but if we’d gone and won another race with her, which I felt we would, we’d have 5lbs more anyway.

We’ve been earmarking this race for her for a while, I’m hoping she runs a big one and she’s one of my better chances of the meeting.

My bet of the week, and my Sky Bet charity bet, would be Baccarat if he can manage to get into the Britannia Handicap on Thursday.

The problem is I think he needs 13 to some out and I don’t think that’s going to happen. He’s a talented horse, a horse I like a lot and if he does get in he’s my best chance of the meeting.

Chapter Seven will definitely run and he’s done nothing wrong. He’s a talented horse. He probably didn’t stay a mile and a quarter in the sales race and then nothing went right for him at Haydock when he got knocked over.

He got boxed in a bit at Doncaster too but saw delight in the end and won it well. He’s only gone up 4lbs for that. Would he have won that day with 4lbs more on his back? For’me he probably would’ve done so I think the handicapper has been fair on him and given him a chance.

Nothing went right for Sparkling Portrait last time but he’s a horse I love and he goes in the King George’V Stakes.

I think he’s a Listed or Group horse in the making. He’s still not 100 per cent there with us mentally and he can run on and off the bridle as he’s just a big baby.

It just didn’t happen for him at Musselburgh last time and to be fair Tony Hamilton looked after him. He needs to start being a bit more professional but racing is the only thing that will make him learn his trade.

I still feel off 93 he’s still got plenty in the tank so we’re hoping he can run well with a bit of luck.

  • Richard will be back on Friday morning with the latest on his Royal Ascot team for Friday and Saturday as well as the lowdown on all his weekend runners around the country.
  • View the original article over at Sporting Life

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