In a race which has produced some impressive winners over the years, the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes added yet another smart individual to the roll of honour as Ribchester ran away with the mile prize.
Richard Fahey’s charge was expected to take a lead from pacemaker Toscanini, but the latter was slowly away from the stalls so Ribchester went straight to the front under William Buick.
Setting what seemed a fair pace, the Godolphin colt began to wind things up with two furlongs to go and last off the bridle had a two length lead.
Lightning Spear gave dogged chase but couldn’t close the gap and inside the final furlong, having drifted to the stands side rail, the favourite kept on strongly to win at the post by just under four lengths.
For Buick, this victory comes hot-on-the-heels of a fine recent period.
Aside from picking up a Group 1 in France last weekend, he took the opening Group 3 Aston Park Stakes aboard the Charlie Appleby-trained Hawkbill.
“He’s a very good horse very versatile and Richard [Fahey] and the team at home they’ve done a fantastic job with him,” reflected Buick.
“He ran so well in Dubai but probably things didn’t quite work out for him and he’s just getting mentally better and physically stronger every day that goes by.
“You’d have to be very happy with the performance today both for the fact that he was in front the whole way basically and the grounds very testing.”
The son of Iffraaj was returning to the scene of his two-year-old success in the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes.
I was quite nervous today which I don’t do nerves
Last season his rise to the upper echelons of the European mile division were confirmed with success in the Prix Jacques Le Marois and a close second to Minding in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Fahey said: “I was quite nervous today which I don’t do nerves.
“I always felt that Ribchester could do something like that which he did so it was grand.
“We’ve always liked him, for a backward horse who won a Mill Reef here as a two-year-old we do feel he’s getting better and better and better.”