Zakouski could take a big leap in class after he featured among 20 entries for Wednesday’s Craven Stakes at Newmarket.
The Charlie Appleby-trained colt beat the well-touted Headman on his only juvenile start on the all-weather in November and is the general third-favourite for next month’s Qipco 2000 Guineas back at Headquarters.
Appleby said: “We will go for a trial and whether that is the Craven or the seven-furlong conditions race they have at the Craven meeting, I’m not sure.
“He has wintered well, but he has completely different profile to (Breeders’ Cup winner) Line Of Duty in that he has only had one run and is completely inexperienced.
“A lot of water needs to go under the bridge before he is a Group horse. He is doing everything asked of him.
“We’ve put him in the Guineas for a reason, but he has got to turn up in a trial first.
“I can’t fault him and he is pleasing us what we are seeing, but he has got to test his mettle now in a trial.”
Zakouski is not the only Godolphin-owned contender, with Saeed bin Suroor’s Group One winner Royal Marine also entered despite disappointing outing at Meydan in January.
Aidan O’Brien has the option of running Vertem Futurity Trophy third Western Australia, while his son Joseph has entered No Needs Never, a Dundalk Listed winner last year.
Winx is all set for her anticipated swansong in the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes this weekend, despite providing a touch of pre-race drama after her final gallop.
Chris Waller’s all-conquering mare will bid for her 33rd successive victory – and 25th Group One – when she runs in what is expected to be the last race of her record-breaking career at Randwick on Saturday.
The seven-year-old pride of Australia caused connections brief consternation, though, when she kicked out at railings – leaving a hole in an advertising sign – after her Rosehill track exercise on Thursday.
She then had to be cleared by veterinary checks, and a statement was later posted on the Racing New South Wales website – allaying any fears of injury.
It read: “Racing NSW official veterinarian Dr James Mizzi and stable veterinarian Dr Ross Alexander this morning conducted a detailed lameness examination of Winx following the mare kicking out in the mounting enclosure at Rosehill Gardens and her hind legs making contact with a sponsor sign attached to a gate.
“Dr Mizzi & Dr Alexander have reported that Winx was free in her action and no abnormalities were detected. As a result the mare has been passed fit to start in Saturday’s Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes.”
It was a moment of concern her trainer could happily have done without, but Waller believes Winx’s behaviour also proves her well-being.
He said: “As you can see, she’s a horse – they’re unpredictable – but she’s very well, very fresh, very bright, ready to go.
“Obviously it’s a big morning with a lot of cameras and people everywhere – and they can get a bit fresh from time to time.
“She’s certainly ready to explode is probably the better word of this morning.”
Waller had taken Winx’s earmuffs off after her gallop, under regular big-race jockey Hugh Bowman – a move that might have contributed to her fractious manoeuvre in front of a large media contingent in Sydney.
“I shouldn’t have taken the earmuffs off this morning,” he said.
“I just wanted to take them off so you could all see her without the earphones. But as soon as I did, she could hear the clicking and the clacking – so I probably shouldn’t have done that.
“I was just trying to do the right thing by everybody to see her for what she actually is, behind the mask so to speak. As you saw, she’s very fresh – but she’s safe and ready to go.”
Looking forward to Saturday’s race, he added: “Hopefully it’s a fairytale ending.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Charlie Appleby hopes Ghaiyyath can continue to make up for lost time by making his class count in the Prix d’Harcourt at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.
The Newmarket handler will pitch the four year old son of Dubawi – who was at one stage a leading contender of last year’s Investec Derby – into Group Two company for the first time in the mile-and-a-quarter contest.
After missing the bulk of last season through injury Ghaiyyath made a his sole start a winning one when adding a second Group Three victory to his name over course and distance in the Prix du Prince d’Orange.
Appleby said: “He has been over to Dubai, but he has been back here for a couple of weeks now and we are pleased with what we have seen. Obviously he is an exciting horse.
“He was supposed to be our Derby horse, but unfortunately he went wrong five days out from the Dante.
“We missed the Derby and most the summer, but he came back and won his only start last year he won the Prix du Prince d’Orange.
“We did contemplate having a crack at the Champion Stakes with him, but we just felt this year was going to be his year so we thought we would wait.
“The plan is to hopefully use this as a stepping stone towards the Ganay. He has won two Group Three races and is now stepping up to a Group Two, which will be a bit harder.
“We will see if he can handle this assignment and if he wins then for sure we will look at the Ganay.”
Provided by Press Association Sport