Friday, 6 April 2018

Richard Fahey: Keeping It Simple

Nearly three decades ago, Richard Fahey shared the 1988/89 conditional jockeys’ championship with Derek Byrne and Stuart Turner, but said later, “I wasn’t good enough, so I gave it up before it gave me up.”

In 1993, Fahey began his training career at Manor Farm in Butterwick near Malton, North Yorkshire in premises rented from former National Hunt Champion Trainer Peter Easterby. From modest beginnings, his career really started to take off when, in 2002, he won the Cork & Orrery Stakes – now the Diamond Jubilee Stakes – at Royal Ascot with Superior Premium.

Three years later, Fahey bought his current yard, Musley Bank, which at the time was a rather dilapidated 80-box affair, from Colin Tinkler, with a view to turning it into one of the best training establishments in the country. In his second full year at Musley Bank, in 2006, he amassed over £1 million in prize money for the first time. Four years later, in 2010, saddled his first Group 1 winner, Wootton Bassett in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp amassed over £2 million in prize money for the first time.

Further success at the highest level followed, with victories for Mayson in the July Cup at Newmarket in 2012 and Garswood in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville in 2014. In 2015, Fahey equalled the British record for winners on the Flat in a calendar year, 235, set by Richard Hannon Snr. two seasons previously. More recently, he saddled Ribchester to win the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville in 2016 and the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Prix Du Moulin at Chantilly in 2017. Ribchester earned a Timeform Rating of 129, making her officially the fourth best older horse in Europe.

When interviewed in 2011, Fahey said, “In ten years’ time I will be 55 and I’ve told Vicki [his wife] that she can train the horses while I put my feet up.” However, having renewed his previously hugely effective partnership with former stable jockey Paul Hanagan last season, after the latter lost his job as retained rider to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, it’s unlikely that Fahey will be reaching for his pipe and slippers any time soon. At the time of writing, he’s saddled just four winners, but also 47 placed horses, from 66 runners in 2018, but the yard doesn’t really get going until the start of the Flat season proper, in March, so Fahey has plenty of time to surpass his 2017 total.

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