Irish trainer Evanna McCutcheon is poised to give Maarek the chance to claim back-to-back victories in the Listed totescoop6 Beverley Bullet on Saturday (August 27).
The Group One-winning sprinter won the much-sought-after £50,000 dash by a neck under a brilliant Jamie Spencer ride 12 months ago and is set to return to East Yorkshire on Beverley's richest raceday of the season.
Co Tipperary-based McCutcheon said: “Maarek is also entered at Tipperary on Thursday, but I would say it was more likely he’ll come back to Beverley for the Bullet instead. He’s had a nice mini-break, which was always the plan to back off with him as he had a mixed-up winter and ran earlier in the season than he usually does. Bar his last start at the Curragh in June, he had been running really well, but things haven’t really gone his way all year. He disappointed us the last day when he ran very flat, but he’s really, really well now and I’m very happy with him. It will be a competitive race – you wouldn’t expect anything else – but it’s very good prize-money and he obviously won so well last year, so we know he acts at the track. He’s fit and fresh and ready to roll.”
Should all run smoothly at the weekend, Maarek is then likely to head to Chantilly for the Group One Prix de l’Abbaye, a race he won in 2013 when staged at its usual home of Longchamp, on October 2. McCutcheon added: “He ran a really nice race on his last-but-one start at Chantilly, so hopefully we’ll head back to France in good spirits.”
Last season's Bullet runner-up Line Of Reason, who broke the Beverley five-furlong track record on June 14, could renew rivalry with Maarek for the Paul Midgley team.
Popular veteran Kingsgate Native enjoys life at Beverley and rolled back the years with an uplifting victory at Nottingham earlier this month. He is one of three possible runners for Newmarket trainer Robert Cowell, who has also confirmed Spirit Quartz and Strath Burn. Classy sprinter Muthmir (William Haggas) and last-time-out scorer Son Of Africa (Henry Candy) also feature amongst the 23 entries for the Bullet. Richard Fahey could be double-handed with Mayfair Lady and Mr Lupton, while fellow Yorkshire trainer Bryan Smart, who won the race in 2011 with Tangerine Trees, could saddle the hat-trick-seeking Alpha Delphini.
Others of note in a potentially excellent race include Final Venture (Alan Swinbank), Caspian Prince (David Loughnane), Imtiyaaz (Roger Varian) and Muhadathat (Mark Johnston).
Beverley card on Saturday – the first leg of the track's Bank Holiday double-header – is due to begin at 2pm, with the official going on Monday described as good to firm.