Charlie Appleby is optimistic King’s Command can maintain his unbeaten record by taking a step up in trip and class in his stride in the bet365 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket.
Having sent out subsequent Group One winner Quorto to claim the seven-furlong prize 12 months ago, the Newmarket trainer hopes the son of Dubawi can follow in the hoofprints of his stablemate on Saturday.
King’s Command, who will bid to give Appleby his third victory in the Group Two contest, made a winning debut when scoring over six furlongs at the track last month.
Appleby said: “I was very pleased with his first run there over six, because we always thought that seven furlongs and potentially further will be his forte.
“As he was a sensible horse, we thought he should be able to win over six – and that is what he went and did.
“He will have learnt plenty that day. He travelled well and although he got outpaced, once Kerrin (McEvoy) gave him the come-along, he picked up well.
“The form of the race is working out well and the step up in trip is expected to suit, while you can’t beat having that bit of course experience.”
Richard Hannon believes a switch to a faster surface should suit last-time-out Haydock winner Mystery Power down to the ground.
He said: “Mystery Power ran a very nice race first time out on soft ground at Haydock – and he has come on for the run.
“The Mark Johnston horse which finished second behind him won at Chelmsford the other day, so it gives the form a nice boost. He has improved a lot for that first run.
“I think the track will suit him, and the better ground should suit him more as well.”
The Marlborough trainer, who last won the race in 2014 with Estidhkaar, will also be represented by winning Goodwood debutant Wild Thunder.
Hannon said: “I wanted to go seven with him because he is a big, strong horse and next year will probably be his year. He has got a great temperament and is very laid-back.
“His debut win didn’t surprise me, because he has always been a nice colt. He moved very well on his debut, but he is not the sort of horse that will pull away – he only does what is required.”
“The two colts have quite similar profiles and both horses will get better with time. It is a big step up for them, but I’m hoping both will be competitive.”
Archie Watson has enjoyed plenty of success with his juvenile team this year, and he hopes Shared Belief can vindicate his decision to pitch him at Pattern race level on his second start.
Watson said: “He won at Sandown on debut when he met a lot of trouble in running. He is a fine, big horse and he deserves to take his chance in a race like this.
“He is still a big, raw horse – and this is only his second start – but he is a very nice horse in the making. When you find a better quality horse like this, you want to be aiming at better races rather than trying to mop up novices under penalties.”
Maxi Boy may have been out of luck in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, but his trainer Michael Bell feels this extra distance will help bolster his chances.
Bell said “The horse is in good nick, and the step up in trip will suit him.
“It will be interesting to see how the race shapes up.”
The field is completed by Year Of The Tiger (Aidan O’Brien), Juan Elcano (Kevin Ryan) and Ropey Guest (George Margarson).