PROGRESSIVE four-year-old, Enbihaar, will take the next step up the ladder when she lines up in the William Hill Brontë Cup at York on Saturday.
Trained by John Gosden, who won the inaugural £90,000 contest with Precious Ramotswe, Enbihaar is one of nine declarations received for the most recent Group 3 to join the York programme.
Unraced at two, the daughter of Redoute’s Choice improved across her three outings last season, supplementing her victory in a Kempton novices’ race in September with a close fourth in a competitive Listed contest at Ascot.
Given another winter to mature, Enbihaar produced her best performance to date when accounting for the improving Klassique in a Listed contest at Goodwood on May 4, pulling away to score by a length and three quarters at the line.
Enbihaar, who carries the colours of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, will tackle one mile and six furlongs for the first time on the Knavesmire and Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to the owner, expects the step up in trip to suit.
“She improved from three to four and I thought she did it really well at Goodwood as she had to make her own running,” Hills said. “Hopefully she’s improved again and this is the next step up.
“We kept her in training as a staying mare. She’s by Redoute’s Choice – she’ll love the ground – and she’s come out of her last race well. She’d have a really good chance.”
On official figures, Enbihaar is rated equal second-highest of the runners in the William Hill Brontë Cup – a perch she shares with the Andrew Balding-trained Maid Up, who finished ninth in the St Leger last campaign.
Roger Varian’s Pilaster is the highest-rated member of the line-up having got the better of Maid Up by a short-head in the Group 2 Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood in August, while she finished third in the Listed Further Flight Stakes on her return at Nottingham. This pair both hold entries for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot so are clearly well regarded at home.
Fellow Newmarket handler William Haggas is double handed courtesy of the lightly raced Alexana and Listed winner, Dramatic Queen; while Middleham-based trainer Mark Johnston has declared the hat-trick seeking Bayshore Freeway.
Later on the card, a competitive field of 19 speedsters will assemble for the William Hill Leading On Course Bookmaker Sprint Handicap.
They include a brace of representatives for Tim Easterby, spearheaded by recent course and distance winner Copper Knight, while John Quinn’s El Astronaute will return to handicap class following a fine sixth in the Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at the Dante Festival.
Queensland-based trainer Toby Edmonds certainly gains the plaudits for the longest traveller at the meeting as he prepares to take the wraps off Acqume, a Listed-placed daughter of Sepoy, in the £50,000 contest.
The seven-race card gets underway at 2pm.