Overdue it may be, but Mickael Barzalona pays his first visit this season to Pontefract tomorrow and can make his presence felt by chalking up a treble.
It is surprising to see the Godolphin jockey riding in Yorkshire on the opening day of the Newmarket autumn festival, but this international high achiever, whose successes include the Derby, the St Leger and the Dubai World Cup, will have no complaints if his mounts come up trumps.
In the featured Simon Scrope Dalby Screw-Driver Handicap, Barzalona teams up with the progressive Ennistown, who could hardly have been more impressive at Haydock on his latest start.
The handicapper raised him 8lb for that clear-cut success and, although he may now be into unknown territory with his enhanced rating, there looks to be more to come from him.
Charlie Appleby, trainer of Ennistown, is also responsible for Tender Emotion, Barzalona’s mount in the Best Horse Racing – Sky Channel 432 Fillies’ Nursery.
The juvenile showed the benefit of her unplaced debut effort when winning at Kempton next time out. The handicapper has handed her a rating of 79 for her nursery bow and, provided she copes with this switch back to turf, she promises to be a tough nut to crack.
It is anyone’s guess how good My Target is in the opening British Stallion Studs EBF Strawberry Hill Maiden Stakes, but the Saeed bin Suroor-trained juvenile may not have to be anything more than average to win under Barzalona on his debut.
A well-bred son of Cape Cross, he is plainly not one to under-estimate representing Godolphin, who appear to have a useful bunch of two-year-olds.
Astonishing may prove the answer to the Princess Royal Richard Hambro EBF Stakes, which shares top billing on the first day of the Newmarket meeting.
Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, the three-year-old has had only five career starts and remains on the upgrade. A creditable runner-up here and at Goodwood since breaking her maiden at Kempton, she steps up to Listed level here but will relish every yard of this mile and a half. She should go well under Ryan Moore.
In the Somerville Tattersall Stakes, the other feature race, Paul Hanagan can surely expect a good spin aboard Mawfoor, who ran a decent third at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting in the sales race, which was his first outing since finishing unplaced at Royal Ascot in June. A Haydock winner earlier in the campaign, he looks a decent prospect.
A year ago, Caucus won the Jockey Club Rose Bowl and it would come as no surprise to see John Gosden’s likeable six-year-old produce an encore with William Buick again in the saddle.
Rated 104 when he won last year, Caucus is now on 110, which suggests he is a better horse this time around. A useful fourth in the Lonsdale Cup at York in August, he is napped to lift this two-miler for a second time.
Newmarket Warrior (2.35) would be an aptly-named winner at this venue, especially as the juvenile is teamed up with the apprentice of the moment, Oisin Murphy, whose Ayr Gold Cup triumph last Saturday was the first leg of a remarkable Scottish four-timer.
2.20 My Target, 2.55 Tender Emotion, 3.30 Trending, 4.05 Ennistown, 4.40 Act Of Charity, 5.15 Evanescent, 5.50 Chant.
2.00 Divisional, 2.35 Newmarket Warrior, 3.10 Astonishing, 3.40 Mawfoor, 4.15 Caucus (NAP), 4.50 Makafeh, 5.25 Ladyship.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Perth and Wolverhampton.
Today’s meetings: Goodwood, Kempton, Perth and Redcar.