Richard Fahey believes that Saturday’s £250,000 Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury is the ideal race for his Norfolk Stakes runner-up Ventura Rebel, who heads the stable’s five-strong entry for a race that it has won three times in the last six years.
Ventura Rebel will be winning Group races before long, but the lure of running for a big pot on favourable terms is proving hard to resist and in the short term Fahey much prefers the Weatherbys Super Sprint to Sunday’s Group 2 Prix Robert Papin at Maisons Laffitte. He has already sidestepped a tempting opportunity at Newmarket’s Moet & Chandon Newmarket July Festival to wait for it.
Fahey said: “I’d say Ventura Rebel will run in the Super Sprint because it’s an ideal race for him. We gave him a bit of a chance after Royal Ascot, and we didn’t contemplate Newmarket as he’d had three runs already.
“He’s in great form and I couldn’t be any happier with him. He’s improving all of the time and on paper he’s the one to beat. Anything that beats him will deserve to win.”
Fahey likes to go to the Weatherbys Super Sprint well armed and he also intends running Queen Mary Stakes sixth Mighty Spirit, who has been second three times, as well as the Brocklesby winner Show Me Show Me and the lightly-weighted Baileys In Bloom.
He first won the Super Sprint with Peniaphobia in 2013, and has since scored with Lathom, who led a one-two-four for the stable in 2015, and with Bengali Boys two years ago. Peniaphobia was subsequently sold to Hong Kong, where he won the Longines Hong Kong Sprint and ended his career with earnings well in excess of £3.3m.
The attraction is obvious, and Fahey said: “It’s a big pot for the market we are dealing in and so it’s a race we like to target. We tend to deal in the lower end of the market and a lot of our horses don’t cost a lot, so it’s a good race for us. We’ve had some good results there, and it’s a good day out for the owners.”
Fahey may have been the dominant force in recent Weatherbys Super Sprints, but he has a long way to go before he matches the record of the Hannon stable, which has won the race with some top-class juveniles, including Group-race fillies Lyric Fantasy (1992), Risky (1993) and Tiggy Wiggy (2014). He was successful in the race for a remarkable ninth occasion 12 months ago with Ginger Nut, who is now winning in the States.
There might not be a Tiggy Wiggy among Hannon’s eight possibles for Saturday’s race, but the stable has a couple of lightly-weighted fillies with each-way possibilities at least.
Hannon said: “I’d say Ventura Rebel looks a certainty for Richard Fahey, but Separate [second to a potentially smart newcomer at Windsor last time] would have a chance, and Ocasio Cortez is pretty quick. They would probably be my best chances.”