Johnny Murtagh is excited about continuing his association with St Nicholas Abbey in what looks a vintage renewal of the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster tomorrow.
All 12 runners go to post having won their latest start, while St Nicholas Abbey is one of five colts in the field defending a 100% record.
Murtagh has partnered the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt to both his wins at the Curragh, the second coming in the Group Two Beresford Stakes – won last year by Sea The Stars.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s a tough race and a good race. It should give everybody a clear sign of what they’ve got for next year,” said Murtagh.
“He’s a nice horse. He’s won his two races and we are expecting a big run from him.
“It’s a cracking renewal. The Beresford was the perfect stepping stone and we will know more tomorrow.
“Good ground would be lovely and I think everything will be in his favour tomorrow.”
Coordinated Cut goes into the Group One with just one effort under his belt and his owner Lawrie Inman recognises the race as the ultimate testing point for a juvenile.
The successful young city trader has had a flying start to his association with Peter Chapple-Hyam, with his first horse Monitor Closely winning the Great Voltigeur at York.
Even bigger things are expected of Coordinated Cut, who was backed for the Derby before landing his debut over course and distance.
Inman said: “Whatever wins the race will end up champion two-year-old as it looks a very good race.
“You have two Group Two winners, impressive conditions stakes winners, the first four in the Derby betting and Pete’s other horse, Morana.
“Dancing David’s form just got franked nicely (at Doncaster) too, so the champion two-year-old should emerge from it.
“I’m not too worried about the form of his last race not working out too well as he was able to quicken away on quick ground, which is a good sign in a Montjeu.
“I’m chuffed to get Kieren (Fallon) again and he likes him as well.”
John Dunlop pitches Elusive Pimpernel into a race he last won in 1995 with Beauchamp King.
His attractive colt has taken both his starts, first in a Newmarket maiden and then with a strong late run in the Group Three Acomb Stakes at York.
“I am very pleased with how the horse is and his preparation has gone well. We’ll see how good he is on Saturday,” said the Arundel trainer.
“It’s very hard to compare the standard of these races, I think waiting to see what the outcome is will be most indicative.”
Godolphin launch a two-pronged assault, spearheaded by the unbeaten Al Zir, the mount of Frankie Dettori.
“He won at Newmarket on good to soft ground and then won a conditions race at Doncaster on faster ground, but he looks like cut in the ground would be better for him,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
“The horse is working well, he worked four days ago and worked very well. Before that Frankie rode him and it was a nice piece work.
“It’s a tough race, there are some good horses in there, but he is improving all the time. He is more of a three-year-old, he is a big horse. This is his chance in the Racing Post Trophy and we are looking for a good run from him. The mile will be no problem.”
Andy Oliver has plenty of faith in his runner, Elusive Award, who has won both of his starts at Leopardstown and Dundalk.
He is delighted Kevin Manning, who was in the saddle at Dundalk, can take the ride again.
“When Jim Bolger did not declare his horse (Marfach), Kevin was delighted to ride ours,” said the County Tyrone trainer.
“I think a lot of my horse, I put him in the race before he had even run and this has been our target from early in the season.
“I’m not going to predict anything. At this time of year you can’t get bullish. I think he’s got ability and we’ve got him in as good a shape as we can.”