Fahey not ruling out Deauville trip for 'bouncing' Ribchester
Richard Fahey is not ruling out a crack at Sunday’s Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois with stable star Ribchester, who despite suffering a shock defeat in treacherous conditions in Wednesday’s Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, is reported to be “bouncing” back at Fahey’s North Yorkshire base.
Run in driving wind and rain on testing ground, the Sussex Stakes turned into an attritional test, with Ribchester – sent off the 8-13 favourite – going down fighting by only a neck to 20-1 outsider Here Comes When.
"He's bouncing and has come out of the race well," said Fahey on Sunday. "I haven’t drawn a line through France yet and I'll see how he is this week. I’ll make a decision before Thursday.”
That could set up a showdown at Deauville with 2,000 Guineas winner Churchill who was taken out of the Sussex Stakes as the torrential rain set in.
Wednesday's contest had looked the ideal opportunity for Ribchester to add a fourth Group 1 win to his CV but the front-runner was headed well over a furlong out before rallying and closing on the winner late on.
The stewards had a good luck at the closing stages, inquiring why Ribchester’s rider William Buick had "appeared to ease his mount for a few strides entering the final furlong", although they were ultimately satisfied with the rider's explanation that he was "being mindful" not to run on to the heels of the winner.
"I've no fault with the jockey," said Fahey. "I've had a look at it and to be fair to William, he didn't stop riding him, he only stopped hitting him and at the time he looked beat. Maybe that gave him a chance to get his second wind and get his purchase and that's why he came back at them."
The trainer added: "Maybe trying to make all in desperate ground, with wind and rain in his face, wasn't ideal. Maybe we shouldn't have made the running but he'd done it so well at Newbury and it was my decision to make it.
"I don't think the horse lost too much in defeat, it's just annoying he got beat but the way he rallied was admirable."
Should Ribchester make the trip to Deauville for the Jacques le Marois, he would be following the same path as last year, where the disappointment of a close defeat at Goodwood was soon forgotten with a stunning victory in France.