Ribchester could have Breeders Cup finale before retiring to stud

Eyrefield Stakes will highlight Leopardstown’s final flat card of 2017 on Saturday

The Godolphin team has confirmed the four-time Group One-winning miler Ribchester will stand as a stallion in 2018 at Sheikh Mohammed’s Kildangan Stud in Co Kildare.

Ribchester was trained by Richard Fahey to win the Lockinge Stakes, the Queen Anne and the Prix Du Moulin this year. He also landed last season's Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville. The son of Iffraaj will stand under the Darley banner at Kildangan for a fee of €30,000.

Ribchester was runner-up to Persuasive in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot but no decision has been taken on whether or not that proves to be his final racecourse appearance. He could get one more opportunity to shine in next week’s Breeders Cup Mile at Del Mar.

“I’ve spoken to Joe [Osborne, the Godolphin chief executive] who has spoken to the boss [Sheikh Mohammed]. Basically they’re leaving the decision to me and I’m leaving it to the horse,” said Fahey on Tuesday.


“He seems to have come out of Ascot well but I’m going to leave it a few more days and let him tell me whether he wants to go or not. We feel very privileged to have had him and I’m sure he’ll be a super stallion.

“Without wanting to disrespect any of the other horses we’ve trained, the ratings tell you he’s the best we’ve had so it’s very easy to say that.” the Yorkshire -based trainer added.

Another new addition to the Kildangan roster next year will be the Kings Stand Stakes winner, Profitable. The son of Invincible Spirit’s fee will be €12,000.

With the final handful of Europe’s Group One races for 2017 due to be run within the next week, focus starts to switch to the stud arrangements of some of the year’s leading racing lights.

Another Kildare farm, Yeomanstown Stud, has moved to introduce a son of the late but hugely successful American sire, Scat Daddy, to a roster that already includes its top stallion Dark Angel.

Prolific winner

El Kabeir was a prolific winner in the USA and the highest rated juvenile son of Scat Daddy to race in America. He won at Grade Two and Three level and was placed third in the Grade One Wood Memorial in 2015. A fee has yet to be announced for the five year old who is by the same sire as Caravaggio.

Leopardstown’s final flat fixture of 2017 on Saturday will add to the sense of the domestic flat campaign winding down.

However its featured Eyrefield Stakes has a history of throwing up future starts and it has been promoted to Group Three status this season.

The Jim Bolger-Kevin Manning team has won it for the past three years and their Gowran maiden winner Chimeara is one of 15 entries left in the nine furlong highlight.

Aidan O’Brien saddled the subsequent Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Yesterday to win the Eyrefield 15 years ago and has seven options this time including another Gowran maiden winner, Saracen Knight.

Dermot Weld won the Eyrefield in 2000 with the future Irish Leger legend Vinnie Roe and has kept open the opportunity for his Galway winner Hazapour to make a third start of his juvenile career.

Nibiru was Tony Martin’s first ever juvenile to make a winning debut when he scored at Naas earlier this month and his name also figures.

Leopardstown’s other black type event on Saturday is the Listed Knockaire Stakes for which 18 remain, including the top-rated Bolger trained Flight Risk.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column