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Ribchester and Churchill set for Sussex Stakes duel

17 Jul 2017

Leading milers of different generations on course to meet at Goodwood

Churchill proved too strong for Barney Roy in the 2000 Guineas. Picture: Racingfotos.com

Ribchester and Churchill are on course to meet in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on Wednesday fortnight.

The outstanding milers, representing the different generations, have already made their mark in the QIPCO British Champions Series this year. Ribchester has won the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes and the Queen Anne Stakes, while Churchill won the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

Churchill followed up in the Irish 2000 Guineas but could finish only a below-par fourth in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last time.

Speaking at a press launch for the Qatar Goodwood Festival, Richard Fahey, the trainer of Ribchester, said: “We have been very happy with Ribchester since Royal Ascot. Everything has gone according to plan with no issues. We have been lucky in that he has never had any problem with him and he enjoys his work. Everything we have wanted to do with him, we have been able to do. I am very happy.

“Very early on, he was quite immature mentally but as he has got older, he has got a lot stronger and really enjoys his racing, which is a great bonus.”

He added: “I am a huge fan of Churchill – he was disappointing at Royal Ascot and I am sure he disappointed Aidan [O’Brien] but it is not just a three-horse race. As a trainer, you want to be involved in races like this.”

O’Brien said: “Churchill is good and everything has gone to plan with him since Ascot and we are aiming him at the Qatar Sussex Stakes.

“He seemed to be fine after his Royal Ascot run – it was a very hot day in Ireland and England, and it may have been the combination of travelling in the warm weather.”

The trainer confirmed Winter, winner of the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes (plus Irish Guineas in between) will step up in trip for the Qatar Nassau Stakes.

“Looking at her three wins over a mile this year, you would think this longer trip will be within her compass,” he said. “We are looking forward to seeing her run over a mile and quarter.”