Ribchester easily landed the Group one Queen Mary, The Godolphin-owned colt was described as the best horse Richard Fahey has ever trained, He won in a track record time of 1m 36.60s
Settled in fifth in the early stages of the mile contest by William Buick under a stern gallop set by Ribchester’s pacemaker Toscanini, the four-year-old son of Iffraaj ran on resolutely when hitting the front over a furlong out to fend off the challenge of William Haggas’ Mutakayyef (5/1), who was a length and a quarter behind in second, with a neck back to Aidan O’Brien’s Deauville (12/1) in third.
Despite taking a slight drift in the market, the 11/10 favourite found plenty for pressure to register his third success at Group One level, whilst simultaneously providing Fahey with his sixth success at the Royal Meeting.
A delighted Fahey said: “I’m just delighted he has won. You can never be confident but everything dropped into place there. He has huge gears and he is never in trouble. He gets the trip and that makes him a good horse.
“It wasn’t really the plan to go that quick with Toscanini [pacemaker] and I did tell Paul [Hanagan, jockey] to bounce out this time. He more or less took off and probably didn’t lead Ribchester far enough.
“Look Ribchester is just an exceptional horse. He has to be the best horse I have ever trained. He broke the track record here today and that’s not being disrespectful to the others, but he is just exceptional.
“It was a good pressure coming into the race as he was the right horse to have the pressure on. I was quietly confident that he would win as everything was good with him before the race – I’m in a happy place.
“He gets lonely out in front sometimes. I don’t think it is pressure and he just went walkabouts.
“William doesn’t feel that the tank is empty with him and that he is getting stronger the whole time. Mentally, he is also getting better which is a great attitude to have in a racehorse – he is starting to think he is good.”
Fahey suggested a tilt at the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood is next on the agenda for the colt, who is now 6/5 with Paddy Power for the race.
Fahey commented: “The Sussex Stakes is where he has to go really. The French race [Prix Jacques Le Marois] which he won last year is only 10 days after the Sussex so we can’t go to both. I was always hoping that he would stay further but at the moment, I don’t need to go further.”
RIBCHESTER STAMPS CLASS FOR GODOLPHIN
The Godolphin-owned colt Ribchester registered a convincing length and a quarter success in a new course record time in the G1 Queen Anne Stakes over the straight mile, the first race of this year’s Royal Meeting.
The four-year-old son of Iffraaj always travelled kindly under jockey William Buick and kept on strongly in the closing stages to record his third success at Group One level.
William Haggas’ Mutakayyef (5/1) was second, with a neck back to Aidan O’Brien’s Deauville (12/1) in third.
Sheikh Mohammed, Godolphin’s founder, was delighted with the performance of the 11/10 favourite and said: “Ribchester was always travelling well with the field. He is a good horse.
“Iffraaj is a very good stallion. He is one of our best stallions and has produced this one [Ribchester].
“Hatta was my first horse and people were surprised when she beat the favourite at Brighton (40 years ago today). From that day, we have moved forward and we are really enjoying it.
“In life there is no winning post. You have to keep going otherwise the rest will catch up with you.
“Royal Ascot is a great place to win. It is very difficult to win because everybody comes from America, Australia and all over the world to Royal Ascot.”
‘BEST MILER I’VE RIDDEN,” SAYS BUICK OF RIBCHESTER
Ribchester may have been a slight drifter in the betting on the G1 Queen Anne Stakes, but he rewarded those who kept the faith with an emphatic victory in a course-record time of 1m 36.60s.
Godolphin’s four-year-old colt, ridden by William Buick for Richard Fahey, was sent off the 11/10 favourite having been a shade of odds-on earlier this morning, yet he was always in a good position and had no difficulty holding off runner-up Mutakayyef (5/1) and third-placed Deauville (12/1) by one and a quarter lengths and a neck.
Buick said: “We were worried about the draw [in stall one], but we knew we had the best horse in the race, and that always makes things easier. There is no substitute for that, and as I said after Newbury [where he won the Lockinge Stakes] he is getting more versatile. I heard he broke the track record, but I believe he has more to give.
“He’s a pretty awesome horse, he travels so well and sees it out so well, and Richard and Sheikh Mohammed have done so well with him. He’s a joy to ride and always gives his best. He is a jockey’s dream. This is the biggest week in our sport, and to wear the royal blue of Godolphin for Sheikh Mohammed here is fantastic.
“I got a nice tow into the race from Miss Temple City, but I knew we were going hard and she would fall away quickly – I didn’t want to break his stride, so knew I would get there quite quickly and I expected him to look at the big stands. There’s a lot going on today, but he always keeps going.
“He’s the best miler I’ve ridden, and as good as any that are out there at the moment.”
He added: “The ground is going to get a lot quicker. I suppose it will be near firm by the end of the day.”