Ribhi out to enter Classic picture in Tuesday’s Free Handicap | Racing News


Marcus Tregoning is hoping Ribhi can put himself in the picture for the Classics when he makes his seasonal debut in the Listed bet365 European Free Handicap at Newmarket on Tuesday.

The son of Dark Angel will take on four rivals in the seven-furlong contest, which is a recognised trial for the 2000 Guineas.

Ribhi will again be partnered by Jim Crowley, who steered him to victory in a six-furlong conditions race when last seen at Salisbury in September.

Having won a maiden at the same track on debut, he had his colours lowered in a Listed race at Doncaster on good to firm ground on his second start, before winning on soft last time out.

“The race has obviously cut up to a small field because I suppose people are worried about how the ground is everywhere,” said Tregoning.

“It is getting pretty quick and we haven’t had as much rain as we should have done.

“He seems to be going there in good form. We are going there off the back of a couple of wins last year and we are just trying to find out where were are and how far we think he is going to get.”

The last winner of the European Free Handicap to achieve victory in the 2000 Guineas was Mystiko in 1991, while the last participant to win the 1000 Guineas was Harayir, the runner-up in 1995.

“It can happen,” said Tregoning. “We will just have to see and hopefully build on it. Ribhi might get a mile, so we are going that route anyway.

“Hopefully he will run well and we can gauge something from this race, although it is difficult to gauge things in a small field.

“It is a fact-finding mission, but going back in trip should help. He is much the same as he was last season. He is in good shape and I’m looking forward to seeing him run.”

Rivals include the Richard Hannon-trained Tacarib Bay, who was third in the Group Three Horris Hill at Newbury on his second of two starts, Hugo Palmer’s Yarmouth novice winner Power Of Beauty and Honey Sweet, trained by Karl Burke.

Ryan Moore rides Tacarib Bay, and told Betfair: “You couldn’t say he is obviously well-treated off his mark of 103, but he has had just the two runs and his third in the Horris Hill on soft ground certainly suggests he could be competitive here.

“He did best of those who raced prominently there. There seems to be some rain forecast on Tuesday, which would obviously be fine for him, but decent ground should also be OK for this Night Of Thunder colt, I’d have thought.”

The Charlie Appleby-trained New Science completes the line-up and heads the market on his seasonal debut.

The Lope De Vega colt comfortably beat subsequent dual Group One winner Angel Bleu in the Listed Pat Eddery Stakes at Ascot in July.

He stayed on from the rear to take third behind Sovereign Prince on his latest appearance in the Listed Jumeirah Classic over a mile at Meydan in February.

“New Science has definitely come forward from his run in Dubai. If he brings the best of his two-year-old form to the table, it will make him very competitive,” Appleby reported on the Godolphin website.


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