JOCKEY Joe Fanning has been one of the leading riders on the northern circuit for a number of years, regularly plundering big prizes for boss Mark Johnston.
Johnston is not alone in supplying Fanning with big-race wins, as shown by his success on the Paul Midgley-trained Line Of Reason in last year’s Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh.
Fanning and Line Of Reason are back to defend their title on Saturday. We spoke to the rider about his chances of winning again, what chances he has on the rest of the card plus get an update on some of the Johnston stable stars.
You partnered Line Of Reason to victory in the Scottish Sprint Cup (2.30) at Musselburgh last season. Can you repeat that effort on Saturday?
He’s a good horse on his day and you just need everything to fall right for you in those big sprints. He’s shown good form at the track before and you’d have to think he’d be there with a chance again, provided he gets the breaks and the luck.
What do you think will be in his favour in the race this year?
He’s not got a bad draw and there’s plenty of pace in the race, which is what he needs and it’ll suit him. They go really hard on the sprint course and we’ll be looking to finish strongly. Hopefully he’s in the same form as last year.
You ride Knight In Armour later on the card (3.45). How do you rate his prospects?
He’s been a bit disappointing but he has plenty of ability. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he bounced back at all as we thought a lot of him as a two-year-old.
Bedrock looks a good spare to pick up in the 2m handicap (4.20). Would you agree?
He’s a nice ride to pick up as he’s been running really well recently. He bumped into one of Mark’s last time but that was a nice horse that beat him, so I wouldn’t worry me he was beaten a long way. He should be thereabouts I think.
Away from Musselburgh, Titi Makfi, a filly you know well, runs in the Pinnacle Stakes (2.50) at Haydock. Do you think she can land the prize?
She ran really well at Goodwood but disappointed at Chester. I’d draw a line through that race though as it didn’t go to plan. It was a bit better last time and I’d expect more from her this time. She’s a game filly and would be in with a decent shout if she comesback to the form of Goodwood.
You won the German 1,000 Guineas on Nyaleti recently. What is the plan for her now?
The step up in trip has really helped her and she won cosily last week. Mark’s got a few plans for her and I think he might be looking at going to America with her for the Beverly D. Stakes on Arlington Million weekend in August. She has alternatives at Royal Ascot as well, so she has options and has a lot of talent too.
Dee Ex Bee was second in last week’s Derby for your boss Mark Johnston. What did you make of the performance?
He ran a really good race. He just gallops and we were all very happy with that. I’ve galloped him at home plenty and he gallops and keeps on galloping. I think he’d get the St Leger trip really well and I think it’d suit him down to the ground. I believe that’s where they’re thinking of going with him now.
And, finally, how are things with Elarqam after his flop in the Irish 2,000 Guineas?
I’ve galloped him a lot at home and that run in Ireland was just too bad to be true. He’ll bounce back from that I’m sure as he was beaten too far out for that to have been his true running. He’s a top-quality horse and he’ll be back running in, and winning, good races before the end of the season.