John Dunlop feels Elusive Pimpernel has shown enough improvement to give St Nicholas Abbey a run for his money in the StanJames.com 2000 Guineas.
The latter comfortably defeated Dunlop’s star colt in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last October and will renew rivalry in next Saturday’s Classic at Newmarket.
Dunlop, who has never won the 2000 Guineas, has taken great confidence from Elusive Pimpernel’s brilliant success in the Craven Stakes earlier this month.
He also feels conditions, allied to the manner in which the Guineas should be competed, could be more in his representative’s favour than at Doncaster.
The Arundel handler told the Daily Mail: “There are three things which give me hope: the day he was beaten at Doncaster it was very soft, which didn’t suit him.
“And he does like a strongly-run race, which he didn’t get there.
“Those two factors can be improved on. In addition, he has developed particularly well from two to three.
“He is now a lovely-looking horse and has a marvellous attitude.”