Farhan likely to attempt November Handicap defence after Philip Kirby purchase

A defence of his November Handicap crown could be on the cards for Farhan following his recent switch to Philip Kirby.

Hollie Doyle guided the four-year-old to victory for John Butler in Doncaster's end-of-season feature 12 months ago and he has since gone on to land another big pot this term when scoring during York's Ebor Festival.

North Yorkshire-based Kirby went to 150,000 guineas to secure the son of Zoffany at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses-In-Training Sale and having settled in well at Green Oaks Farm, the trainer is confident his new charge would be fine if given an early assignment for new connections.

He said: "I have had an order for a few months, and I've had a bit of trouble filling it really. He was first on my list and I was able to buy him within budget which was perfect. It is for a new owner in his own right, but he's had shares in a couple of horses with us before. He wanted a nice one to go nice places so we're hoping Farhan will do the job.

"He will probably go to the November Handicap I hope, he seems to have settled in really nicely and I don't see any reason why he can't all being well.

"I'm not pretending he's going to improve because John has done a brilliant job with him, but hopefully we can get some soft ground and he can maintain his form and go forwards really."

Kirby also provided an update on his star staying chaser Top Ville Ben, who could be pointed towards another go at the Grand National in the spring.

The 10-year-old was pulled up in the Merseyside marathon earlier this year but has shown a liking to the fences in two goes over the famous spruce and may be given another chance in the world's most famous steeplechase if conditions are suitable.

"He's grand, I'm probably going to start him off over hurdles at Lingfield in a couple of weeks. It's nothing special, just a decent handicap, but it's just to get him started really," continued Kirby.

"He's in good order and he's ready. The ground would have been too fast for him at Wetherby so we would have given that a miss anyway, but he's really good.

"We'll probably aim towards the National again and hope we get some softer ground. But probably fiddle around in between maybe with one of those big hurdles we won last year. We'll mix and match which is more because of the ground because he needs it very soft or heavy.

"I'm not saying he's a definite for the National because I wouldn't be keen to run on good ground again, but if it came up soft, I would be tempted."

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