Enthusiastic’s debut run last month was better than it reads on paper and, with a slice of luck this time, is expected to show his true worth on Wednesday when he returns to Taupo.
The Ben and Ryan Foote-trained three-year-old will step out in the Placemakers Rotorua Maiden (1300m) with Lisa Allpress to guide his fortunes from an ideal barrier (four).
The son of War Decree is one of a trio of chances from the father and son’s Cambridge operation, with first starters Alcaraz in the Winstone Wallboards Maiden (1300m) and Mars in the McLeod Habibs Maiden (1300m).
“I would be disappointed if all three didn’t run good races,” Ben Foote said.
Enthusiastic was a trial winner before he finished a first-up sixth under Kozzi Asano behind current Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) co-favourite Molly Bloom.
“He had trialled well and then Kozzi said he got a really bad bump in the race and it cost him quite a few lengths,” Foote said.
“His sectionals were the second best behind the winner so with a better run I think he’ll be right in it.”
The stable has also accepted in the race with Charmer, who was stakes placed last season, but she is likely to be saved for another day.
“She’s a tidy filly who tries hard and is working well. She will probably start on Sunday (at Rotorua) as I think the other horse is a good winning chance at Taupo,” Foote said.
Per Incanto four-year-old Alcaraz, who will be partnered by Michael McNab, has made all the right moves ahead of his debut with a lead-up trial win on the all-weather track at Cambridge.
“He kept going shin sore so we’ve waited with him and think he’s a proper horse,” Foote said.
“I mucked the trial up a bit and was supposed to trial him over 1000m and it was 1300m, but it didn’t seem to matter anyway and he’s a very, very good galloper who will give a good sight.”
Well-related Zoustar filly Mars also comes in with a Cambridge trial victory over 950m to her credit with McNab to ride her as well.
“I think quite highly of her, she hasn’t got a great draw (10) but we’ve got to get her underway,” Foote said.
“She’ll get back and should be hitting the line very strongly. She ran the quickest time at the trials the other day when she came from the back so I’m sure she’ll do the same again.”
A $200,000 Karaka purchase out of Westbury Stud’s draft, Mars will carry the colours of Trelawney Stud and is out of a half-sister to the Group Two-winning sprinters First Command and Oneworld.
She is the first horse Foote has trained for the Taylor family’s Cambridge nursery.
“I bought a yearling off them last year and they said they would give me one to train,” he said.
The Karaka purchase is now known as Ka Ying Victory and the son of Charm Spirit was a trial winner at Ruakaka before relocating to Hong Kong where he is unbeaten in two appearances.
“We’ve got a lot of young horses coming through and never have too many older ones, Babylon Berlin is the oldest horse in the stable,” Foote said.
“She will trial in a couple of weeks and she’ll be cherry ripe for the Railway (Gr.1, 1200m) so we’ll plan a path to that. I’m really happy with her.”
The six-year-old has won seven races, including three at Group Three level, and will be chasing a deserved top-flight title having placed four times against elite competition.