G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes second for Ribchester
Ribchester produced a battling performance to finish second in the mile G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot, UK, on Saturday, October 21.
The four-year-old Iffraaj colt, a four-time G1 winner over a mile for trainer Richard Fahey, broke well and raced keenly in fourth initially before settling better behind stable companion Toscanini after a furlong as the 15 runners split into two groups .
Ribchester cruised up as the field converged three furlongs from home and quickened strongly under William Buick to take up the running approaching the final quarter-mile.
He stayed on and rallied after being headed by Persuasive passing the distance to go down by a length, with half a length back to Churchill in third.
Persuasive’s winning time of 1m 46.13s on soft ground was nearly 10 seconds slower than the course record, set by Ribchester in the G1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
“Déjà vu – he’s beaten again,” said Richard Fahey. “It’s difficult to blame the ground as he’s a horse who’s won on soft ground, but he’s such a good moving horse and William feels there that he’s come to win and win well, but he just got beaten in the dead ground.
“The winner coped with the conditions better. That’s twice he’s been beaten in desperate conditions. But we’re happy enough. Well, not really, but I have to say that!
“I can’t even think about the Breeders’ Cup now, I’d need to speak to the team. His best run for me was at Royal Ascot when the ground was quick and he broke the track record. If he hadn’t won the two-year-old race at Newbury, the Mill Reef, on slow ground I’d always have been worried about the ground, but he’s come back as bright as a button. So I’m frustrated, rather than disappointed.”
William Buick added: “Ribchester’s best performance was here in the Queen Anne on fast ground and the filly who likes the ground [Persuasive] quickened past me and ran well.
“But look, he’s ran well and he’s held his form since March. I think yes, he would have turned the tables on quicker ground - he’s a much better horse on quicker ground.”