KARL BURKE could become one step closer to fulfilling his Classic dream if Kadar wins today’s Feilden Stakes at Newmarket – an early season trial for Flat racing’s marquee contests.
The Leyburn trainer has twice saddled the runner-up in blue riband races – Libertarian chased home Ruler Of The World in the 2013 Epsom Derby before Laurens was second in the 1000 Guineas in 2017.
Yet, while Laurens, the reigning Yorkshire horse of the year, is a multiple Group One winner who will be looking to add to her tally this season, Burke would like a Classic to add to his burgeoning CV.
Owned by the increasingly influential Phoenix Thoroughbreds whose Signora Cabello won at Royal Ascot last year for Malton trainer John Quinn and jockey Oisin Murphy, Kadar only raced once last season when winning at Haydock under Clifford Lee.
Kadar also had the option of tomorrow’s Craven Stakes over a mile – but Burke, who has also enjoyed Group One success in recent seasons with the now retired sprinter Quiet Reflection, feels the son of Scat Daddy will be seen to better effect over middle distances so he starts his Classic season over nine furlongs.
The Listed race put Golden Horn on the way to stardom in 2015, the horse which also launched jockey Frankie Dettori’s resurgence in the autumn of his career by going on to win the Derby.
“We’ll learn a lot about him. Obviously it’s only his second time on the racetrack,” said Burke who has booked Danny Tudhope to ride Kadar.
“I’ve said plenty about in the last year – probably too much – but I think he’s a lovely horse.
“I hope I’m wrong, but he is just showing that a mile in the top grade might just catch him out for a turn of foot – which is why I’m happy to run him over an extra furlong.”
Kadar currently holds high-profile entries in the English and Irish 2000 Guineas over a mile as well as the English and Irish Derbies over a mile and a half.
“For me he’s a mile-and-a-quarter-horse plus. If he wins then we have the option of coming back for the Guineas, because he’ll have had a look at the track as well,” added Burke.
“We’ll learn a lot – but he’s a lovely horse, and I’m very happy with him.
“Our horses have been running generally well without being in sparkling form – and like a lot of people, we’re just finding our feet at the moment.
“I hope the ground will be fine, with it being the first meeting. I was probably over cautious last year – he was a big baby of a horse, but he’s much more mature now.
“It’s so easy to do damage with an immature horse, but in my experience the longer you can leave them the more mature the bone is.”
Conversely Middleham trainer Mark Johnston’s I’ll Have Another heads to this race on the back of eight runs this season.
The trainer’s son and assistant, Charlie, said the filly could emerge as an Oaks contender.
“She was second in the Zetland Stakes here last season, which is very good form,” he said.
“I think this trip will probably be a real minimum for her – I think she’ll want a mile and a quarter and soon a mile and a half.
“She had a great year last year, picking up plenty of black type at home and abroad.
“She’ll have to step up again to warrant going in an Oaks trial. But we’re hoping she can, and this looked a good place to get going.”
Aidan O’Brien, who has never won the race, runs Western Australia. Third in the Futurity Trophy at Doncaster last October, the colt was beaten on his return to action at Dundalk.
John Gosden is represented by Kick On, sixth in the Doncaster race, while Richard Hannon runs Walkinthesand, narrowly beaten on his debut at Sandown before returning there to win his second start easily.
Zakouski will face nine rivals when he bids to provide Charlie Appleby with a second successive victory in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket.
Appleby saddled Masar to win this trial last year prior to landing the Epsom Derby for owner Sheikh Mohammed and jockey William Buick.
Zakouski created a big impression when making a successful racecourse debut at Kempton in November – and while he faces a big step up in class on his first start on turf, he is set to go off favourite for this prestigious race.