Richard Fahey is confident Ventura Rebel can provide him with a fourth victory in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury.
The Musley Bank maestro has saddled three of the last six winners of this lucrative event and appears intent on adding to his tally on Saturday – with the red-hot favourite joined by a trio of stablemates in Mighty Spirit, Show Me Show Me and Baileys In Bloom.
Ventura Rebel was snapped up for just £28,000 as a yearling. But after he followed up a winning debut at Thirsk with an impressive victory on Ascot Trials Day, Middleham Park Racing sold him to Abdullah Menahi – presumably for a significant profit.
The son of Pastoral Pursuits made an encouraging start for his new owner when beaten just a neck by Simon Crisford’s A’Ali in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot last month -and while he will face 24 rivals in this weekend’s £250,000 feature, he is set to go off at prohibitive odds.
“We gave Ventura Rebel a bit of a chance after Royal Ascot, and we didn’t contemplate Newmarket (July Festival) because he’d had three runs already,” said Fahey.
“He’s in great form, and I couldn’t be any happier with him. He’s improving all of the time – and on paper he’s the one to beat.
“Anything that beats him will deserve to win.”
Fahey’s eye for a bargain has proved a useful weapon in a race restricted to horses who cost £63,000 or less at public auction – with weights determined by sale price.
Peniaphobia was a case in point, with the £20,000 purchase providing Fahey with his first Super Sprint success in 2013 before being sold and becoming a star sprinter in Hong Kong.
Fahey added: “It’s a big pot for the market we are dealing in, so it’s a race we like to target.
“We tend to deal in the lower end of the market, and a lot of our horses don’t cost a lot, so it’s a good race for us.
“We’ve had some good results there, and it’s a good day out for the owners.”
Fahey still has some way to go to match the record of the Hannon team, with Richard and Richard junior saddling no fewer than nine previous Super Sprint winners between them.
This year’s challenge is made up of Audio, Separate, Ocasio Cortez and Bacchalot, while Dreamy Rascal is first reserve.
Hannon said: “I’d say Ventura Rebel looks a certainty for Richard Fahey, but Separate would have a chance, and Ocasio Cortez is pretty quick.
“They would probably be my best chances.”
Karl Burke has high hopes for Never In Paris, who makes just her second racecourse appearance following an impressive debut victory at Nottingham a fortnight ago.
“I think she’s a smart filly in the making,” said the Spigot Lodge handler.
“She’s got a nice draw (stall 14), and any rain would help.
“It’s a tough race – and the favourite will be hard to beat, I would imagine – but there’s a lot of prize-money on offer, and we’ll give it a go.”
Rod Millman fires a couple of darts, with Silvestre de Sousa on board the hat-trick seeking Bettys Hope and Raul Da Silva partnering Daddies Girl.
“I think Bettys Hope would prefer six furlongs to five. But she’s a nice filly, and a good run is expected,” said Millman.
“Daddies Diva had Flippa The Strippa behind when she was second (at Nottingham in April), and her win form is good. She was on the wrong leg all the way at Bath last time (when finishing third).
“She’s a good, tough filly – and we’ve saved her for the race.”