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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Fahey confident Ribchester can bring Godolphin glory

A group of horses work at Meydan on Wednesday morning
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Those who responded to an early wake-up call were rewarded with a glimpse of leading Dubai Turf contender Ribchester, who had a light workout on the turf track, which was open for business again under calmer weather conditions compared to the previous morning.

Trainer Richard Fahey, who had only touched down in Dubai a few hours earlier, was among the spectators and was pleased with what he saw from last year’s Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois hero, who bids to give him a first success on Saturday’s extravagant Dubai World Cup card.

“He only had a canter round but I’m delighted with him,” said Fahey, who later watched Ribchester being drawn in stall one for Saturday's Group 1. “He doesn’t need anymore galloping before Saturday as we had him very fit at home.

“Some of his form is very good and I feel he’s a better horse this time but you need some luck. If he gets it, he could run a big race. I felt he was a little bit unlucky in the Sussex Stakes and ran well in the QEII, so it’s solid Group 1 form and I hope he performs on the day.”

Owned by Godolphin, Ribchester would become a first winner at Dubai’s showcase fixture from outside the owner’s retained trainers should he succeed on Saturday but despite the significance of the meeting to Godolphin, Fahey said there has been no added pressure from above.

“I probably should feel a bit more pressure but they make it easy and have left in entirely to me,” said the trainer. “It was my idea to come here and John Ferguson agreed, which was great.

"The better the horse the lesser the races there are for them. It was either run here or wait for the Lockinge but we’ll probably run here and in the Lockinge.”

Ribchester, stepping beyond a mile and racing around a left-handed bend for the first time, is a general 3-1 second-favourite for the DP World-backed Turf, in a market headed by France’s Zarak at 5-2

Fahey added: “I feel he will stay. His mother won over a mile and a half so there’s every chance he will stay on the dam side. If he settles, he’ll definitely stay and if he it will open up a lot of options.

“He’s never been left-handed and most of his races have been on straight courses but he handled a turn at Goodwood okay. He was joint top-rated three-year-old in Europe last year and it’s just if he can compete against the older horses, and we’ll find that out on Saturday.

"If you look at the prize-money, which is just less than £3 million to the winner, it’s a good day out.”

I probably should feel a bit more pressure but they make it easy and have left in entirely to me.

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