Richard Fahey has identified Beat The Bank as a rival of note for his star-miler Ribchester in this weekend’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
Ribchester heads for the British Champions Day contest looking to cement his position as Europe’s leading miler and he is the 9/4 favourite to win on Saturday.
His Group 1 haul for the year already includes the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and Prix du Moulin in France, while Ribchester was narrowly defeated in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in very testing ground.
Fahey feels he has his four-year-old in excellent shape going to Ascot, though he is wary of the strong challenge that is in store.
Aidan O’Brien, chasing a world record tally of Group 1 winners in one calendar year, could saddle dual 2,000 Guineas winner Churchill, an 11/2 chance, in the QEII while Andrew Balding’s Beat The Bank is the potential improver in the pack.
The son of Paco Boy has won his last three starts over a mile in ready fashion, most recently scoring a five-length success in the Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket last month. He is 9/2 second favourite and his efforts have not gone unnoticed by Ribchester’s trainer.
“Everything’s gone according to plan and I’m very happy with him,” said Fahey. “He’s very reliable and never lets you down. I’m very privileged to have him but he’s been easy enough to train – he never has any issues.”
“Beat The Bank is progressing and knows how to win. He’s second favourite and is probably entitled to be but it’s not just him to consider.”
Following Ascot, Fahey is still considering sending Ribchester to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup Mile or potentially heading for the Mile Championship at Kyoto on 19th November, where he could trigger a lucrative bonus for winning the Lockinge, Queen Anne and Mile Championship treble.
After that, the trainer has hinted that it may then be time to pull stumps on Ribchester’s racing career, as he cast some doubt on a return next year.
“He doesn’t have to prove any more. I’d love to have him in training next year but he’d be going back and trying to win the same races,” Fahey added.
“We’ve been extremely privileged to have him and the plan for a trainer like me is to find another one.”
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