Encke heading to York to settle score with Mission

Racing fans were treated to a thrilling battle on the opening day of Glorious Goodwood when Sir Henry Cecil’s impeccably bred Noble Mission just got the better of the brave Encke in a tremendous race for the Group 3 Gordon Stakes, and it looks like there could well be more of the same in store when the pair line up for the Group 2 Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes at York on August 22.

Both horses seem to be improving with every outing – a trend that won’t go unnoticed in York Ebor 2012 betting markets – and while Noble Mission might well have won the battle at Goodwood, connections of Encke are far from bashful about taking on their Gordon Stakes conqueror on the Knavesmire, feeling their charge is on the up-and-up and will once again give a very good account of himself in a race seen as a key trail for the Group 1 Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster just over three weeks later.

Encke, who was beaten just half a length by the decent Perennial on his racecourse bow at Doncaster last September, soon went one better when winning his only other juvenile start at Newmarket with consummate ease, then followed up by making a winning reappearance this term beating Ginger Jackby half-a-length in a Sandown handicap off a mark of 90.

Pitched straight into pattern race company by trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni, tips on horse racing suggest that Encke had the measure of his rivals at Goodwood when leading inside the final two furlongs, but he was soon joined by Noble Mission as the pair proceeded to duel right the way to the line, Encke failing on the nod by just a nose.

With the Godolphin team certain that their horse is improving rapidly, they will take on Cecil’s colt again on the Knavesmire in a bid to confirm Encke a genuine contender for the St Leger, a race for which he is currently offered at a best price of 14/1 in an ante-post market dominated by the Triple Crown-seeking Camelot, the 1/2 favourite.