Fahey confident of big Power run in Guineas
Richard Fahey is quietly confident regarding the chances of Perfect Power ahead of his bid for the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
The colt made a perfect start to the season when landing the Greenham Stakes at Newbury earlier in the month, prevailing comfortably by a length and half from Richard Hannon’s Lusail.
Last year Perfect Power was seen on six occasions, winning the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in June before going on to claim Group One glory in both the Prix Morny at Deauville and the Middle Park at Newmarket.
Having spent the latter end of last term campaigning over six furlongs, the three-year-old was sent to the Greenham to test his stamina over seven furlongs instead of stepping straight up to a mile in the most established Guineas trial, the Craven.
The 2000 Guineas, the first Classic of the season and the opening race of the Qipco British Champions Series, is an increase in trip again as it is run over a mile.
“The other race (the Craven) is a mile and I hate going from six to a mile, I think it’s a huge step,” Fahey explained.
“It’s a third of the distance they’ve been before and in the Greenham there is no Group One penalty so they’ve given us the opportunity for the Group One-winning two-year-olds. It was an easy choice for me to go to Newbury.”
Though his efforts between the stalls and the winning post have filled Fahey with confidence, the three-year-old has caused concern with his habit of tearing down to the start at a pace much faster than ideal.
As a result Fahey intends to send the horse to post early at Newmarket and jockey Christophe Soumillon will be legged up en route rather than in the paddock.
“It’s a huge problem, it’s a worry. As soon as he hits the grass he goes, it’s 0-45 in six strides and he would go (bolt) with you,” said Fahey.
“He did in the Middle Park, which would have been a trainer’s excuse had he got beaten, we’ve had a think about it and I think we’ll probably go down early and lead him.
“He’s done it twice now. In the Middle Park he half-bolted down to the start, he was going an awful lot quicker than I wanted to go and definitely quicker than Christophe wanted.”
Despite his over-exuberance before his races, Perfect Power is a different horse entirely at home and is noted for his easy going temperament.
“I don’t know where it comes from because he is a completely laid-back character at home, I need him to pick his bridle up, not to wind him down. He’s very relaxed, it’s just something in his system that we’ve got to get out,” said Fahey.
“He’s an exciting horse to train but when I say exciting, he never over expresses himself!
“He just roams around the place, he eats all day, he sleeps all day. He’s a super horse to have around the place.
“He’s a very relaxed character, he never, ever gets flustered and he never, ever turns a hair or does anything wrong.”
He went on: “When you’re galloping a Group One winner you expect them to win on the gallops by five or six lengths but he joins them on bridle and says hello to them when he gets to them. When he gets to the track he can pick up, he’s got a blistering turn of speed.”
Perfect Power’s stamina will be put to the test when he lines up for the Guineas, but Fahey considers his Greenham victory a source of confidence and Soumillon has long had faith in the horse’s ability to stay.
“If you didn’t know the horse at all and just sat down and watched the race (Greenham) stone cold, you would be quite confident that he’s going to stay a mile,” said Fahey.
“He’s going to be a stallion now whatever he does, so you feel an obligation to protect them and maybe not ask the impossible but the dam went over a mile and quarter and her best form was probably over a mile and a half.
“That gives you confidence, the horse is helping me as in his races he switches off and sits behind the bridle and he’s going to give us every chance.
“Christophe was mad (keen) to go seven furlongs last year, even when he won the French race (Prix Morny) he kept saying ‘this guy will definitely go seven’.
“We didn’t feel the need to go seven and we drew a line through the (Prix Jean-luc) Lagardere just to give him a break, he’d had six runs. In Christophe’s mind, seven furlongs last year wouldn’t have been a problem and if he’d have won over seven last year we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
The Guineas market is dominated by Godolphin’s unbeaten Native Trail, a comfortable winner of the Craven and a horse that caught Fahey’s eye when he passed through the sales ring last year.
“Funnily enough I tried to get a client to buy him,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say he was the underbidder but he wasn’t far off it, so he’s a horse I’ve always been taken by and he’s done nothing on the track to change my mind.”
Despite having admired Native Trail for some time, Fahey is not intimidated by taking on either the horse or his hugely successful connections.
He said: “We’re taking on the big guns and I just hope we can compete. I’m not saying I’m confident we’re going to beat him, but if we did I wouldn’t be shocked.”