By Geoffrey Riddle in Chantilly
Richard Fahey has not totally ruled out an audacious Qipco British Champions Day and Breeders’ Cup double with Ribchester after the colt returned to winning ways in the Prix Du Moulin at Chantilly on Sunday.
Following victories in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot, the Fahey-trained four-year-old had suffered a shock defeat in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood last time, but showed his true colours as he regained the winning thread.
It was Ribchester's third victory on soft ground, and Fahey's first in the Moulin, and the four-year-old is 3-1 to triumph in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on October 21. The Breeders' Cup at Del Mar is on November 4.
"He is coping with the ground," Fahey said.
"It was a blip at Goodwood and you can blame the trainer. It wasn't just the ground that was bad that day, but all the conditions with the wind and the rain. It isn't nice running in those conditions and I don't think old Ribchester enjoyed it.
"If I had a choice I would love to run him on fast ground.Ribchester handed Godolphin their first Moulin victory since Librettist in 2006 (FocusOnRacing)
"It is only two weeks between Ascot and Del Mar. It would be tough on him, we’ll see. If any horse could do it, it would be him."
Ribchester was attempting to make up for his eclipse to Here Comes When in atrocious conditions at Glorious Goodwood and as Robin Of Navan took the field along through the early stages of the mile contest, James Doyle was content to race just in behind on Ribchester.
Doyle, who was riding due to the absence of the injured William Buick, pressed on for the lead entering the final quarter of a mile.
It looked as though the Godolphin-owned colt was set to have a fight on his hand as Sheikh Hamdan's Taareef covered the move to get within striking range of the market leader, but Ribchester eventually came home a three-quarter-length winner, with Massaat back in third.
Ribchester hung once again, and it is a twitch that Fahey does not believe he can iron out any time soon.
"It is a trait of his and goes left and right," he added.
"In the Lockinge he went right and here he went left. He likes company, he is never a horse that goes clear. He hits the front and waits for them, it gives the trainer a heart-attack.
"He loves his work, he loves being on the gallops and is a pleasure to have.
It has been a privilege to train him and I’ve really enjoyed it. He hasn’t let me down.
"If he was to stay in training I would love to go back to Dubai. There was unfinished business there when he was third in the Dubai Turf when it didn’t go right."