Mickael Barzalona is one of the hottest young riding talents in Europe. Born at Lyon on 3rd August 1991, he is the nephew of dual-purpose jockey Armand Barzalona and grandson of Corsican trainer Christian Barzalona. He was more interested in rugby as a child but spent four years at the French jockeys’ school in Gouvieux before joining Andre Fabre‘s stable, on the recommendation of Sylvain Guillot, in 2009.
His talents were quickly noticed and he started riding Godolphin’s French runners in September 2009. He had a win on only his second ride in Britain aboard Ocean War in a maiden at Newmarket in April, 2011 and sensationally won the Investec Derby two months later at his first attempt on the Fabre-trained Pour Moi, getting up in the shadows of the post and celebrating by standing up in the saddle.
In 2012, Barzalona became a retained rider to Godolphin and landed the world’s richest race for his new employers when partnering Monterosso to victory in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan in March. He enjoyed a dream first ride in the Ladbrokes St Leger, partnering Encke to success.
Barzalona almost reopened his British Champions Series account with Godolphin’s Territories in the 2015 QIPCO 2000 Guineas but he could only manage second aboard the Andre Fabre-trained colt behind impressive winner Gleneagles.