The Lincoln at Doncaster takes centre stage on Saturday as the British turf season begins in style. There’s also a star in the making to savour at Kempton – plus the mega-rich Dubai World Cup night at Meydan on what shapes up to be a scintillating day of racing.
Mark Johnston’s colt has risen up the ranks at a rapid pace over the last four months and now comes here chasing his sixth successive win.
He’s rated 26lb higher than when he started in December and steps out in Listed company this afternoon, but he’s hard to oppose.
The son of Raven’s Pass had five lengths to spare over this C&D last time out, putting his handicap rivals away with relative ease.
The runner-up has twice come out and won in as many starts since, ensuring the form has a decent look to it.
Matterhorn looks to be heading towards Group-race fare before long and he’s fancied to score here to give his profile yet another boost in the hands of Franny Norton.
Up at Doncaster, the Lincoln is the main event and Charlie Appleby’s Auxerre is going to be a warm order in the betting.
He won three in a row last season after finishing second at Newmarket on his debut. There’s no denying he’s got plenty scope for progress although this is a different test than anything he’s faced so far.
Zwayyan, on the other hand, has run well in big-field handicaps at Ascot last term and will know what to expect here. Furthermore, he’s race fit, having won a Wolverhampton trial for this race recently.
That looked to be a career-best effort and he’s likely not done with yet. The race fitness could be a massive advantage in the Lincoln, while the Balding yard’s recent 36% strik- rate only adds to the allure.
Meanwhile at Meydan, the Dubai World Cup night features a mammoth nine-race card, with stars from around the globe on show.
In the concluding feature race, Thunder Snow defends his crown but faces a battle from a wide draw.
He made nearly every yard last year for Godolphin but chief rivals North American and Capezzano are ideally berthed now. The last-named might be the answer in what looks a cracking contest.
Earlier on, Appleby’s Great Voltigeur winner Old Persian is fancied to win the Sheema Classic.
He didn’t stay the trip in the St Leger on his final British run last term, but he did superbly well to win over the C&D at Meydan recently in a Group 2, defying a horrible position on the home bend to power home and grab the win on the line.