Sheikh Fahad bids to defend Town Plate crown

Sheikh Fahad rode his first winner when landing Newmarket's Town Plate on Almagest a year ago, and the partnership tackle the race again on Thursday.

The historic Town Plate is run over three and three quarter miles on the July Course and is started by flag. It was first run in 1666 and was instigated by King Charles II, who also won the first running. Last year, Sheikh Fahad and Almagest (pictured) came with a sustained run to win the 347th running from Matthew Hancock MP and Medieval Chapel, who had built up what looked an unassailable lead in the home straight.

Almagest was a super-sub 12 months ago after Sheikh Fahad's original mount went lame the weekend before the race, but he's very much first pick this time around and is reported in good shape by his trainer Robert Stephens. He will be taken on by 13 other horses on Thursday, including useful hurdler/chaser Bivouac who was bought out of the Nicky Henderson yard in May and will be ridden by his new owner Tim Gredley, a former International Showjumper who has competed in numerous Senior Nations Cups for Great Britain. Bivouac could well be the big danger to Almagest.

Also riding in the race are amateur jockey Robert Stoneman, trainer Mick Mullineaux, permit holder Michael Gates, dentist Jane Willett, programme manager Gemma Mathers, bookmaker Patrick Chesters, account manager Lois-Ann O'Hara, managing director Stephen Turner, horse breaker Sharon Firmin, full-time mum Rebecca Robinson, ambulance driver Keith Oakes, and farriers Jon Day and Ian Gault.

Sheikh Fahad rode in his first race in 2015 and has since ridden in charity races both in Ireland and in the UK, winning twice, with his other success on board Labaik in the Corinthian Challenge Charity Race at Leopardstown last October, as well as taking part in the world’s longest horserace, the Mongol Derby.

You can watch The Jockey Club's video about the 2017 Town Plate by clicking here.