Racing: Redvers relishing heat of battle at Royal Ascot
David Redvers is preparing for a massive week at Royal Ascot as Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s racing manager, saying: “It’s our Olympics.”
Sheikh Fahad’s best horses are set to race over the five-day showpiece, which starts on Tuesday, including Melbourne Cup hero Dunaden.
The sheikh, whose horses run under the Pearl Bloodstock and Qatar Racing banners, tasted his first Royal Ascot win with Frederick Engels last year.
Redvers, owner of Tweenhills Farm and Stud in Hartpury, said: “We’re right in the heat of battle now preparing for Royal Ascot, which is the equivalent of our Olympics.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
“It’s a huge week because Sheikh Fahad and his brothers, Sheikh Hamad and Sheikh Suhaim, have a box every day, so there’s quite a lot of pressure on getting it working, but it’s good fun.”
Redvers and Sheikh Fahad are hoping Dunaden can press his Prix de L’Arc Triomphe claims in next Saturday’s Hardwicke Stakes.
Dunaden won the Hong Kong Vase after landing the Melbourne Cup and has been third in his only two races since.
Redvers said: “He’s a magic horse, absolutely gorgeous.
“If when he runs in the Hardwicke it becomes obvious that there are no excuses for his run, that he’s just not top flight over a mile and half, we’ll revert to an Australian campaign.
“If he runs extremely well in the Hardwicke and finishes in the frame and seems to be making continued progress then he’ll probably go the King George where he’ll more than likely meet Camelot, amongst others.
“From then on the Arc would be his target, so we’ve got an exciting plan for him for the end of the season, but whether it’s Melbourne followed by the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase or the Arc remains to be seen.”
Redvers is optimistic Strong Suit can put up a good performance in Tuesday’s Queen Anne Stakes, despite the presence of Frankel.
However, he warned soft conditions could mean Strong Suit is re-routed to the Qipco Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
Redvers said: “The day we really need the fast ground is the first day when we may put Strong Suit in against Frankel.
“He is unbeaten at Ascot and he is probably the best horse to have run against Frankel yet, except when he ran in the Greenham and he was wrong last year.
“I’d be pretty confident he’d put up the best show of any horse so far against Frankel if we get it right.
“But I’m not going to run him on soft ground, so we may wait until the Sussex Stakes.”
Even if Strong Suit doesn’t run, Redvers and Sheikh Fahad could still be represented by the improving Side Glance.
“He won a very competitive race at Epsom on Oaks Day and everything went wrong in the race that could go wrong,” said Redvers.
“Realistically you can’t see him beating Frankel but he could give him a bit of a run for his money.”
Among Prince Fahad’s exciting team of two-year-olds, New Pearl is heading for the Coventry Stakes, Ahern and Pay Freeze are set to line up in Windsor Castle Stakes and Cay Verde could run in the Norfolk Stakes.
Redvers said: “New Pearl won his maiden very impressively at Newmarket on Guineas day.
“He slightly disappointed us at Pontefract but we’ve put that down to him not handling the track.
“Ahern is a very smart horse indeed and he bolted up in a hot race at Musselburgh.
“I think we’ve got as strong a chance as we possibly can of retaining the Windsor Castle Stakes, which we won with Frederick Angels last year.”
Fake sheikh? I would have fallen for that one
When he was told Sheikh Fahad Al Thani from the Royal Family of Qatar wanted to meet him at an exclusive London hotel David Redvers did his homework.
“I was in New Zealand at the time and I got an email saying the young sheikh would like to meet me to discuss buying a racehorse,” he recalled.
“I thought, ‘I’m not leaving New Zealand three days early for a spoof.’
“So I got a mate of mine who was in the SAS and now runs a security company to run a search and check he was legit, and a three-word text came back reading ‘Get on plane.’
“So I met him for a half an hour and he basically said he would put a relatively small amount of money into a Weatherbys bank account to see what I could do with it because he was putting his toe into racehorse ownership .
“It was only his toe, but if it was a success it would get much bigger.
“That was all the incentive I needed really, so we started off buying a few horses at the breeze-up sales.
“The first one I bought him was sold a week later for a considerable amount of profit and we’ve been running ever since.
“I’m enjoying it enormously and it’s great to have a partner like Sheikh Fahad, who is so young and enthusiastic and yet level-headed.
“He’s incredibly mature and that makes my job so much easier.
“He listens to reason, has a strong view of his own and he’s a hell of a good judge of form.
“We’re constantly trying to make sure we’ve got the best team we possibly can and making plans for that team, so I’m forever talking to my form experts, my race-planning experts, and I’ve got four full-time girls in the office helping to run the show.”
As his racing manager and bloodstock manager for the past two years Redvers’ relationship with Sheikh Fahad, who turned 23 yesterday, has been a sensational success.
Not only did they win a race at Royal Ascot, the duo capped a tremendous 2011 by winning the Melbourne Cup.
The sheikh and his family also bought 2010 2,000 Guineas winner Makfi to be a stallion at Redvers’ stud in Hartpury.
Redvers said: “It’s gone better than anyone could have imagined.
“Pearl Bloodstock was very much Sheikh Fahad’s, but this next tranche of bloodstock buying we’ve been doing has been for all the brothers as well, so that’s why there’s now Qatar Racing.
“As they’ve seen how much fun Sheikh Fahad has had they’ve come racing with him – the family have sponsored the Qipco Series – and they got much more involved in the racing themselves.
“So it’s a bit of a coup really, that they’ve previously had no interest and we’ve got them to take a big interest.
“We’re dealing with a quality of bloodstock I could have previously only dream about.”
Redvers describes his role as “the dream job” but he is keen to ensure he keeps the right balance between work and spending time with his family.
“It’s very easy to get swept up in this whole thing and then realise you’re missing out on the most important thing,” he said.
“But I’ve got a very good team working for me and it does allow me to spend my time with them more sensibly.”
Sheikh Fahad’s Cheveley Park Stakes winner Lightening Pearl was retired yesterday after being beaten in Ireland.