AS he cast his eye over the sunlit gallops at his Musley Bank stables on the outskirts of Malton earlier this week, Richard Fahey could be forgiven a sense of contentment.

Tearing up the hill on his all-weather gallop, the leader of the string in more ways than one, was Ribchester, the superstar four-year-old that earned Fahey his maiden Group One success in France last year and followed up with a scintillating win in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.

Following behind were more multiple winners, forming part of a string – “How many horses? Let’s just say more than 100,” joked Fahey – that has helped amass more than £6m in prize money in the last two seasons.

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And down at the bottom of the bank, tucked away in the shadows, was Fahey’s state-of-the-art training facility, a 230-acre complex that would be the envy of just about any other handler in the country.

Yorkshire racing is about to enjoy its week in the sun, with the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival launching at Ripon on Saturday, and along with Mark Johnston, who trains on a similar scale in Middleham, Fahey is its brightest light. Not, however, that it was always that way.

“To be honest, I never really wanted to be a trainer,” said Fahey, whose racing career began as a jockey, but who freely admits he “wasn’t good enough” in the saddle despite riding more than 100 winners. “I was running a livery yard and I used to buy and sell horses, and to be honest, there was decent money in it.

“I started doing a bit of training on the side because Tom Dyer, a fellow I’d ridden for, asked me, but if it had come down to a purely financial decision, I would have knocked that on the head and kept on with the buying and selling.

“There’s something about training though, it gets to you. The horse trading has stood me in good stead because, as a trainer, you’re only ever as good as the horses you buy. But on reflection, it was probably the right decision to go with the training.”

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The son of an engineer from County Louth, in Ireland, Fahey’s riding career took him up and down England, but he always felt an affinity to Yorkshire and the county seemed the logical place to settle once he opted to take out a training licence.

He started out, in 1993, with a dozen-or-so horses at Butterwick, not far from where he is based now, and made the move to Musley Bank in 2005 when his string had outgrown his original base.

His first year at his current home saw him saddle 79 winners, and last year that tally rose to 198, with a much higher proportion of group-race victories.

The scale of his operation is remarkable – one day last month, he had 32 runners at five different courses – but even on the busiest of race days, his 75 members of full and part-time staff ensure his training system runs like clockwork.

“We’re very, very lucky here,” he said. “We’ve got nice horses, great owners and some fantastic people working with it. You can’t succeed as a trainer without having all of that behind you.

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“People say it’s harder for trainers up here, and in some ways it is. We can’t afford to buy horses for the kind of prices that the really big players that tend to be based in the Far East are paying. We have to work in a different market, and in some respects, you get what you pay.

“Nothing is ever a given in racing though, and one of the beauties of the sport is that you always start with a chance on any given day. That’s what keeps driving us on, and if you look around on a day like this, there’s nowhere you’d rather be.

“I couldn’t imagine not being based up here in Yorkshire. I spent a bit of time down in Newmarket during my riding days, and didn’t really like it all. I feel at home here. I think Yorkshire people are very like the Irish in many ways, certainly in terms of their love for horses and racing. Wherever you go in Yorkshire, you’re never far from a horse or a racetrack. That’s like the Ireland I was brought up in.”

Fahey is hoping to pip his friendly rival Johnston to the leading trainer’s title at next week’s Yorkshire Summer Festival, but his ambitions for the rest of the summer stretch further than the confines of the county.

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Having cemented his reputation as one of the leading older milers in the country when he landed the Queen Anne, Ribchester is set to tackle an eagerly-awaited clash of the generations when he lines up in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood next month.

That race is likely to pit him against English and Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Churchill, and could also see him having to tackle French superstar Zelzal as well as recent Chantilly winner Thunder Snow.

“We’re very happy with Ribchester, and all roads lead to Goodwood,” said Fahey. “It’s not very often you can be confident with a horse, especially going into a Group One, but I’d say that we’re confident and that everything is going well.

“We’ve thought he was an extremely good horse, but he was a bit buzzy as a two-year-old and we probably had to get that out of him. This year, we’ve been able to train him as we want.

“He’s been absolutely great for us, and although it won’t be up to me, I’d love to see him stay on for another year. I honestly think he’d be an even better horse next year. I don’t think we’ve got to the bottom of him yet.”

Queen Kindly is another of Fahey’s stable stars, and having won the Group Two Lowther Stakes last summer, the three-year-old was beaten a short head in the Summer Stakes at York last weekend.

“I thought she’d won,” said Fahey. “She beat the rest of the field by five lengths, but then got collared by a 20-1 shot, but that’s racing. She’s a lovely filly and she deserves to get another few wins on the board. The Sprint Cup (at Haydock) is a realistic target, but I’d like to get her head in front somewhere.”