sport

Fiddes lives dream in Gimcrack

Local owner Ritchie Fiddes will realise a long-held ambition on Saturday when the unbeaten Fendale runs in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes at York.

The Bryan Smart-trained juvenile was entered in the Group Two without ever having had a run as he was slow to come to hand.

But having always shown plenty on the gallops, it has been a relief to connections that he has won his first two races, living up to their expectations.

"He's two out of two and he hasn't been touched with the whip yet so we've no idea how good he is," said Fiddes.

"You'd rather be going there with an unexposed horse than one which you know how good he is and has had his limitations exposed.

"He's won two, despite being very green. Last time he was on and off the bridle but he did it so easy in the end.

"This is a massive step up, we know that, but we'll get to see how good he is."

The winning owner of the Gimcrack gives a speech to the industry at a black-tie dinner in December, and Fiddes would not shy away from the task.

He said: "When I bought five yearlings last year I desperately wanted a runner in the Gimcrack but the entries have to be made so early that this lad hadn't even run.

"Thankfully, it wasn't a wasted entry and I'd love to be giving the speech."

Another unbeaten colt in the field is the Irish raider Accepted, trained by Tommy Stack.

Also two from two, his sire, Approve, won the Gimcrack in 2010.

Accepted beat Aidan O'Brien's Simply A Star, a half-sister to Irish Oaks winner Bracelet, in a Listed race at Tipperary on his most recent outing in July.

"It's a very competitive race and it will be interesting to see how he goes," said Stack's son and assistant, Fozzy.

"He's done nothing wrong so far and he's ready for a step up.

"The ground should suit him and we're looking forward to it."

Richard Hannon, unsurprisingly for a prestigious two-year-old race, has two solid chances in Baitha Alga and Beacon.

The former, owned by Al Shaqab Racing, won the Woodcote at Epsom and followed up in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Beacon, owned by another Harry Herbert-managed syndicate in Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, claimed a Sandown Listed event but was beaten at odds-on in the Molecomb at Goodwood.

The Marlborough handler told www.richardhannonracing.co.uk: "Baitha Alga has the 3lb penalty for winning the Norfolk, but we think this is the right race for him.

"He is so straightforward - very uncomplicated - and Frankie (Dettori) has loved him from day one. He is such a professional.

"However, Beacon is a good horse, too, and, whereas Baitha Alga is going for four wins off the spin, Beacon should be going for five.

"He was very unlucky in the Molecomb at Goodwood, and (Richard) Hughesie was the first to hold his hands up when he dismounted.

"He felt that six (furlongs) would probably suit the colt better as they get him at it early on over five, so all in all we have two live chances."