Fearby and Moss Gill set to fly flag for Bethell at York
Ed Bethell has his sights set on this month’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival with his stable stars Fearby and Moss Gill.
The Middleham-based trainer is aiming Dragon Stakes winner Fearby at the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes, with Moss Gill on course for the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes – in which he was a fine third to Battaash 12 months ago.
Fearby was last seen finishing second to Armor in the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood, and is expected to be suited by a first attempt at six furlongs.
Bethell is in his first season with a licence after taking over from his father, James.
He said of Fearby: “He ran very well at Goodwood. Maybe the draw bias played against us – he was a bit centre pack, rather than up that rail, while there was a strong head wind that day.
“We didn’t get any cover – that’s nobody’s fault, but just the way the race panned out. Would we have beaten the winner had we had a similar draw to him? It’s difficult to know.
“I was very happy with the way he ran – obviously we would have loved to have won, but the step up to six should be right up his street.
“He’s come out of that race really well – he’s very fresh. They’ll go a nice, good gallop on the flat six at York – and I hope he’ll hit the line strong.
“He’s not really ground dependent. He’s won on good to firm; he’s won on good to soft and he’s been second on soft. You’d almost think he needs a bit of rain, but I think you’ll see a better horse on a faster surface.”
Bethell revealed the £150,000 Group Two contest has been on the long-range radar for Fearby.
He added: “The owners are a northern-based syndicate, we’re a northern-based yard – and it was always the aim after he won the Listed race at Sandown to go for the Gimcrack. That’s been his main target this year.
“York is where we want to have winners – it’s where our catchment area is and it’s where all of our owners want to have runners. It will be a big thing for me to get the monkey off my back and saddle my first winner there.”
Fearby will be running at York for the first time, but Moss Gill has a long-standing affinity for the Knavesmire – most recently going down by just a length to smart filly Winter Power in the City Walls Stakes.
Bethell said: “I said to the owners we would work back from the Nunthorpe this year.
“His last run was probably his best run – giving Winter Power a lot of weight, having missed the break half a beat. He was only beaten a length and was closing towards the end of the race.
“The weights in the Nunthorpe play more into our hands than hers. While the opposition will obviously be different, with Suesa and Golden Pal potentially coming over … the absence of Battaash throws the race wide open.
“I think we’re an honest 10-1 shot – I wouldn’t expect us to be any shorter, but I wouldn’t expect us to be any longer either.
“He loves the track, and I’ve done a bit of stalls work with him to try and hit the lids a bit better. If we can do that, jump on terms and sit on the tails of the leaders, I think we can give them a little bit to worry about – given the way he’s come out of his last race.”
The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday August 18 to Saturday August 21.