BETHELL AIMING TO SHINE WITH STAR SPRINTERS AT YORK
ROOKIE trainer Ed Bethell is relishing the prospect of unleashing his two stable stars at this month’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
Bethell is enjoying a fine first season with a license, saddling 18 winners so far. During York’s seasonal showpiece, he is set to be represented by Fearby in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes and Moss Gill in the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes, both of which are held on Friday 20 August.
Progressive juvenile, Fearby, landed the Dragon Stakes at Sandown prior to running second behind Armor in the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood. He has yet to race beyond the minimum trip, but Bethell is excited about stepping his charge up to six furlongs on the Knavesmire.
The Middleham-based trainer said: “He ran very well at Goodwood. Maybe the draw bias played against us – he was a bit centre pack, rather than up that rail, while there was a strong head wind that day.”
“We didn’t get any cover – that’s nobody’s fault, but just the way the race panned out. Would we have beaten the winner had we had a similar draw to him? It’s difficult to know.
“I was very happy with the way he ran – obviously we would have loved to have won, but the step up to six should be right up his street.
“He’s come out of that race really good – he’s very fresh. They’ll go a nice, good gallop on the flat six at York and hopefully he’ll hit the line strong.”
The Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes, a Group 2 worth £150,000, has been the long-term aim for Fearby, with Bethell hoping the speedy juvenile can become his first winner at his local track.
“The owners are a northern-based syndicate, we’re a northern-based yard and it was always the aim after he won the Listed race at Sandown to go for the Gimcrack – that’s been his main target this year,” he said.
“York is where we want to have winners, it’s where our catchment area is and it’s where all of our owners want to have runners. It will be a big thing for me to get the monkey off my back and saddle my first winner there.”
Regarding underfoot conditions for Fearby, Bethell added: “He’s not really ground dependent. He’s won on good-to-firm, he’s won on good-to-soft and he’s been second on soft. You’d almost think he needs a bit of rain, but I think you’ll see a better horse on a faster surface.”
Fearby will be joined on the Knavesmire by Moss Gill, who ran third to the recently retired Battaash, in the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes last year and will attempt to go two better this time around. The admirable five-year-old continued his affinity for York when running a one-length second behind improving speedster Winter Power in the John Smith’s City Walls Stakes on 10 July.
Bethell added: “I said to the owners we would work back from the Nunthorpe this year.
“His last run was probably his best run, giving Winter Power a lot of weight having missed the break half a beat. He was only beaten a length and was closing towards the end of the race.
“The weights in the Nunthorpe play more into our hands than hers. While the opposition will obviously be different, with Suesa and Golden Pal potentially coming over…the absence of Battaash throws the race wide open.”
Bethell, who could also be represented by Skye Breeze in what is Britain’s richest maiden contest, the British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden on the Friday of the Festival, believes Moss Gill holds live claims of snaring a first Group 1 win in the £400,000 contest.
“I think we’re an honest 10/1 shot and I wouldn’t expect us to be any shorter, but I wouldn’t expect us to be any longer either,” he continued.
“He loves the track and I’ve done a bit of stalls work with him to try and hit the lids a bit better. If we can do that, jump on terms and sit on the tails of the leaders, I think we can give them a little bit to worry about, given the way he’s come out of his last race.”
The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 18 August until Saturday 21 August inclusively.
For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk