Key questions and trainer views for the Richmond Stakes
Qatar Richmond Stakes (Group 2) | 6f | 2yo colts and geldings | ITV/RUK
Has Hanagan chosen right?
When a trainer runs two live chances in a race like this it is often diplomacy that dictates they find it very difficult to choose between them.
In Richard Fahey's case however, one senses he means it, and it's easy to see why. Sabre ran exceptionally well when coming from off the pace to press Soldier's Call late on in Royal Ascot's Windsor Castle Stakes, and Charming Kid was only just run out of second behind the classy Advertise in Newmarket's July Stakes.
Paul Hanagan has opted for Sabre, but it was evidently a close call.
Fahey said: "They are work companions and they come up head to head every time. Paul chose Sabre, but he was tossing and turning over it, not knowing which way to go. I think the extra furlong for Sabre is what swayed it for him.
"Sabre ran a blinder at Royal Ascot and I think the sixth furlong will help, but I wouldn't be surprised if Charming Kid beat him. I'm very happy with both and a dead-heat is what I would really like."
Can Diamond prove a cut above?
Marie's Diamond will have been through the sale ring by the time most read this, but even if sold it will be very surprising if he does not take up what looks a decent opportunity to bag a second Group win in a fortnight.
Charlie Johnston, representing his father Mark, who landed Tuesday's Vintage Stakes with Dark Vision, said on Wednesday: "He should have a very good chance.
"He's already won a Group 3 over six and a half at the Curragh and he'll be going up to seven furlongs sooner rather than later, but he's in the sale at Goodwood tonight and that's what persuaded us to run here rather than in the Vintage.
"He's getting better all the time and he's hopefully got the speed to cope. I'm sure he'll fetch good money but we would love him to stay in the yard."
Can Konchek return to winning ways?
Konchek has been beaten three times since his winning debut at Newmarket, but he has not done much wrong, just edging Charming Kid out of second behind Advertise at Newmarket last time.
Clive Cox has liked him from the start and the trainer said: "I've been really pleased with his progress and it was a very solid run in the July Stakes.
"He's trained well and I see no reason why he shouldn't handle the track. I'm looking forward to him."
Another winner for the Hannon team?
The Hannon stable has won this no fewer than six times in the last decade, notably with Dick Turpin, Harbour Watch and Mehmas, and while Neverland Rock is not among the favourites, his trainer is plainly very sweet on him.
A good winner over seven furlongs at Newmarket following an eye-catching debut in the strong Newbury novice won by Confiding, he did not look the strongest of stayers when only third back at Newmarket in the Superlative Stakes and could well benefit from the drop in trip.
Richard Hannon certainly thinks so and said: "When I was asked last week what my best chance of a winner was I was very quick to nominate this horse.
"He won at Newmarket two starts ago and then probably didn’t quite get the trip last time, so the drop back to six furlongs will be in his favour and I really fancy his chances. He’s a very talented colt who could still be anything."
What the others say
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Land Force
He's going back up to the trip he won his maiden over before running third in the Norfolk and winning a Listed race at Tipperary last time. He seems in good order and the trip should be fine for him.
Andrew Balding, trainer of Shine So Bright
I thought he ran a really good race for Karl [Burke] in the Coventry, since when he's been very straightforward and impressed in his work. I would hope he has every chance.
Simon Crisford, trainer of Sporting Chance
He ran a very nice race in the July Stakes, and although he needs to find a bit more he's done well since and I'm very hopeful he'll run another good race.
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