Fresh from the biggest day of his career at Wetherby, Phil Kirby is eyeing more big-race glory with Stargazer in next weekend’s Betfred November Handicap.
The Doncaster race traditionally brings the curtain down on the Flat season, and dual-purpose trainer Kirby will be going there on a high a week after his Saturday treble at Wetherby – which included a Grade Two win for Nautical Nitwit and a Listed success for Lady Buttons.
Formerly trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Stargazer ‘won’ a valuable race at Newcastle in March – only to lose it in the stewards’ room – but he has been quiet since, because of an injury picked up in the Chester Cup.
“I think he’s got more chance of winning the November Handicap than I did Nautical Nitwit winning on Saturday, put it that way!” said Kirby.
“It looks a sensible race for him. I’d imagine he’ll go, because he’s had an easy season, but he’ll have a piece of work tomorrow.
“He got injured in the Chester Cup, which meant he missed most of the season. I then had to run him back sooner than ideal because of the new conditions of the Cesarewitch, which had been his target.
“That probably came too soon and on ground too fast over a trip too far, so we’ve forgotten about that.
“We’re always looking for something else before the end of the season, and this was the obvious race. The trip and ground will suit.”
Stargazer is one of 40 entries for the November Handicap – with Eve Johnson Hougton’s What About Carlo and John Gosden’s Royal Line, beaten favourite last year, set to be at the head of the weights.
Mark Johnston’s Hochfeld, the William Haggas-trained My Lord And Master and Charlie Appleby’s Wolf Country and sure to have plenty of followers.
Also on the card is the Listed Wentworth Stakes in which Group One winner Librisa Breeze is one of 26 possibles – while Dermot Weld has entered Bona Fide, winner of two of her three races to date, in the Listed British EBF Gillies Fillies’ Stakes.