Naqshabban puts his unbeaten record on the line as he aims to seal a Royal Ascot place with an eye-catching run in the Novase Bloodstock Insurance Fairway Stakes at Newmarket tomorrow.
Trainer Luca Cumani is looking at the Tercentenary Stakes, formerly the Hampton Court, on June 16 for the Street Cry gelding should he make it three wins from three starts.
He steps up to Listed class after scoring at Leicester in October and at Sandown last month when he defeated subsequent Musidora Stakes winner Joviality by a neck.
“He’s been progressing nicely so far and the step up to a mile and a quarter should suit him. The form of the Sandown race looks good,” said Cumani.
“Hopefully he will run a good race and go on to Royal Ascot from there.”
Barbican is another contender bidding to book a date at Royal Ascot.
Trainer Alan Bailey has one eye on the King George V Handicap at the big meeting, also on June 16, for the Hurricane Run gelding.
Barbican has progressed from a Wolverhampton maiden success on his debut in February to win a Doncaster handicap and contest a Group Three event at Sandown.
“Barbican is a nice horse – he has never run a bad race and he will run a big race on Saturday,” said Bailey.
“He ran very well last time at Newmarket behind Buthelezi, who we meet again, but that horse went up the rail on his own and if Barbican had been racing closer to that one, I think we would have won.
“The aim is the big three-year-old mile-and-a-half handicap at Royal Ascot.
“In all honesty, I’d have almost preferred to wait for that because the worry is, if he wins on Saturday, the handicapper will put him up a fair bit.
“His form looks good enough – the two fillies (Dorcas Lane and Beatrice Aurore) have come out of the Doncaster race and won Listed races, and his fourth to Genius Beast at Sandown was a good run too.
“He is in good form and he won’t disgrace himself, that’s for sure.
“The 10 furlongs is really the least he wants – his dam (The Faraway Tree) stayed well and was second in the Park Hill.
“We are getting a bit of rain now, which we desperately need in Newmarket, but I wouldn’t want too much rain for him.”
Richard Hannon hopes Cai Shen can put up a decent show in what describes as a tough contest.
“Cai Shen runs in the Fairway Stakes, which looks a bit hot as we come up against Naqshabban, who beat the subsequent Musidora winner Joviality at Sandown,” the Everleigh trainer told www.richardhanonracing.tv.
“However, Cai Shen won well at Newbury and then beat all except Godolphin’s Derby horse (Ocean War) at Newmarket, so he goes there with a solid chance.”