x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Jockey Barzalona coming up fast with Godolphin

The 19-year-old is a fast-rising star with the organisation and the tactics at Medyan suit his style.

Mickael Barzalona, aboard Khawlah, left, is proving worthy of Godolphin's silks. Pawan Singh / The National
Mickael Barzalona, aboard Khawlah, left, is proving worthy of Godolphin's silks. Pawan Singh / The National

If Mickael Barzalona is to be believed, winning on Dubai World Cup night is easier than riding in France.

Barzalona has ridden at Meydan Racecourse for the past two seasons, having been sent to Godolphin by Andre Fabre, to whom he was apprenticed at 16.

The 19-year-old Corsican set this year's Dubai Carnival alight with eight victories, including the UAE 2000 Guineas on Splash Point and on Monterosso in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold in March.

He kept the ride on Monterosso to finish third behind Victoire Pisa in the World Cup itself, after he had already picked up the UAE Derby on the same card by partnering with the filly Khawlah.

"In France, the races are very tactical," Barzalona said. "In places like Dubai you don't so often get trapped in behind horses. The tactics suit my style. I've been very lucky. Monsieur Fabre decided to send me to spend the winter with Godolphin in each of the last two years. I can only be thankful for the opportunity to ride such good horses for them."

The teenage prodigy rides for Godolphin this afternoon at Longchamp, France, where he gets the leg up on Midsummer Fair, trained by the in-form Mahmood al Zarooni, in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains.

Midsummer Fair was supplemented for the Longchamp test by Godolphin. Although the move is now standard practice for the Dubai-based operation, it illustrates the faith that the camp have in Barzalona. He will have ridden now in their famous blue silks in classic races in three countries after he rode Saamidd in the English 2000 Guineas last month.

Riding at Newmarket proved an education for him, but he learnt very quickly and partnered Ocean War to victory on only his second ride there. When he returned to Britain for his next assignment he rode a double at Newbury.

Barzalona will also ride Godolphin's Grand Vent in the Prix Hocquart at Longchamp, run over 2,200m. As the Group 2 contest was considered an easier trial for the English Derby than Thursday's Dante Stakes at York, Godolphin will also send over Genius Beast and jockey Frankie Dettori.

The Hocquart is expected to show whether Genius Beast is up to standard to compete at Epsom next month. It may also offer another chance to size up Barzalona with Dettori, with whom he is increasingly being compared.