It's that time of year when trainers find out if their geese or swans and their will be plenty of crossed fingers at Sefton Lodge in Newmarket this week when Eminent looks to stake his classic claim in the Bet365 Craven Stakes on Thursday.
Martyn Meade has made giant strides since moving to the historic Newmarket yard in 2014, a place that has undergone a tasteful facelift, and a runner-up spot in the French 1000 Guineas with Irish Rookie in 2015 and progress shown by Aclaim to end last season with victory in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes at Newmarket shows that with the right ammunition he is perfectly capable of producing the results in the top division.
Eminent, a son of Frankel, did all that was asked of him when winning a mile maiden at Newmarket in September and the outcome of the Craven will obviously determine how high the bar is raised with a Qipco 2000 Guneas, Dante and Derby entries in the pending tray.
Martyn said: "If we can get a bit of luck this week it will make all the difference. We are now getting smarter pedigrees and horses that are more like staying types rather than the ones that win first time out and then have to take on the handicapper. It is an exciting time and we are looking forward to the season ahead."
Martyn kindly spoke to Tony Elves of ATR about those he hopes can make their present felt both in the short term and in the long term.
4 b c Acclamation - Aris
Winner of five of his 9 starts and currently rated 114. Most progressive in the second half of last season and win his last three starts culminating in a length victory from Lumiere in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes at Newmarket (7f) in October.
"He is being targeted for the Lockinge at Newbury and we will go wherever we have too to win a Group 1 so we can stand him as a stallion. He has done very well and has grown up and from what I see at home he is capable of going up to Group 1 level. It is a very exciting time with him he won the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket and we just hope he can step up and win that Group 1.
4 b c Clodovil - Yali
Winner of two of his three starts and currently rated 96. Scored by three quarters of a length from Barleysugar off a mark of 89 at Newmarket in May of last year.
"We were disappointed not to get into the Lincoln but we couldn't do anything about it. He is rated 96 and he will now go for the Spring Cup at Newbury. A mile is his trip and he had a bit of time of last year as he had a chip in his knee but that is all good now and let's hope he has a bright future."
4 b g Iffraaj - Alexander Queen
Winner of two of his 10 starts and currently rated 99. Last success when beating Intransigent a length and a quarter at Leicester (7f) in October off a mark of 97.
"He just lost his way a little bit at the end of last season and was a little bit in the doldrums but he has suddenly started coming back to himself now. We ran him a month after gelding him and maybe that didn't help him too much but he's on his way back and he will be out shortly. He will tell us when he is ready but I think he has another couple of good races in him."
5 b m Acclamation - Dark Dancer
Winner of three of her 13 starts and currently rated 80. Gained back to back victories at Nottingham (6f) in June and July beating Meandmyshadow a head off a mark of 73 and following up with head victory from Magical Effect.
""She would be basically our two-year-old work horse. She picks up her races and she will be running over her usual six furlongs and hopefully be able to do it for us again."
6 b h Galileo - All's Forgotten
Winner of two of his 11 starts and currently rated 106. Finished unplaced to Flying Officer on his debut for the stable in a listed race at Newmarket (2m) in September 2015.
"He is coming back and is back in full work. He had a bit of a tendon injury 18 months ago from which he has recovered and hopefully he will be back. He could be out in mid to late Summer."
5 b g Henrythenavigator - Ball Gown
Winner of one of his 5 starts and currently rated 73. Off the mark when beating Medicean Queen two lengths in a maiden at Lingfield (1m 4f) in February of last year.
"He is a little bit behind the other but come July time we should be seeing him over a mile and a half that is his trip."
6 b g Sleeping Indian - Night Owl
Winner of three of his 37 starts and currently rated 86. Best effort last season when beaten half a length by Si Senor at Lingfield (1m) in January off a mark of 88.
"He is one of our work horses but he is in good form and he just missed out on the Spring Mile at Doncaster. We will look for opportunities over a straight mile for him and he should find a little race somewhere."
4 b f Zoffany - Tropical Lake
Winner of one of his 5 starts and currently rated 100. Impressive three and a half length winner from Laugh Aloud in a maiden at Newmarket (1m) in June and best subsequent effort when runner-up, beaten a length and a quarter, to Light Up Our World in a listed event at Sandown (1m) the following month.
"She is a great prospect and I am really looking forward to her she has come back really well. She tailed off last season as she clearly had a virus or something. We might run her over a mile and quarter or a mile and half. She should start in the next couple of weeks."
ch f Arcano - Croque Madame
"She is going well and she will run in the next couple of months. I think she will start over a mile."
b c Excelebration - Dance Troupe
Runner-up in three of his four starts and rated 82. Beaten only half a length by Geneva Convention at Windsor (1m 1/2f) in October.
"He has been a disappointing horse really coming runner-up three times. I think we are going to run him at Newmarket now in mile and two maiden at Newmarket on Thursday and we might try running him from the front."
b f Henrythenavigator - Right Answer
Runner-up, beaten a head, to Hathiq on her only start at Kempton (6f) in November.
"She came second at Kempton on her debut and is a nice filly. She should have no trouble winning her maiden and she will be kept to six furlongs."
gr f Canford Cliffs - Beautiful Hill
"She is a nice filly who is going well at home and I hope to run her in the next month over a mile."
b c Frankel - You'll Be Mine
Winner of his only start at Newmarket (1m) in September when beating Vantage Point two and three quarter lengths and currently rated 87.
"I have decided not to go for the Feilden and we will go for the Craven on the Thursday and hope for the best. Jim Crowley came down and rode him last week and he was fine. He is a horse that doesn't show a lot at home and he is just a relentless galloper. One of the reason I want to run him in the Craven is that he needs a strong pace and he should get that there. After that we will know where we are with him but he's in the Dante and the Derby so we have a lot of options."
ch c Elusive Quality - Minute Limit
Winner of one of his 2 starts and currently rated 85. Scored by a length and a quarter from Stanhope on his debut at Yarmouth (6f) in August and unplaced in a listed event at York (6f) in October on his only subsequent start.
"He is in fine form and he will run in the mile handicap at Newmarket on Thursday I am happy with the mark he has been given and he should go well off that."
ch c Bahamian Bounty - Myth And Magic
"He makes his debut at Newmarket today and we like him quite a lot."
ch c Society Rock - Fabiola
"He is a bit weak and is going to take time. He should be out in September."
b c Dutch Art - Mona Em
"We would have run him at Newmarket but for him having a corn. As soon as he's ready he will be out and will win."
ch c Declaration of War - Needles And Pins
"He is a really nice colt with a lot of presence about him and he is owned by Chelsea Thoroughbreds. He should be out in the next month."
b c Lethal Force - Zarkalia
"He runs in the five furlong maiden at Newbury this weekend and is another owned by Chelsea Thoroughbreds
b c More Than Ready - Copper Mine
"He is an Ascot Breeze-Up horse and I like these More Than Ready's. He could be ready for a run in the next month."
b c Galileo - Breathe
"He goes well and hopefully he will run about August time."
b c Camelot - Brigid
"He is a nice type and he should also be out in August or September time."
b c Footstepsinthesand - Boga
"He came from the Breeze-Ups and he should be a nice early type. He should be out in the next three weeks or so. Nice little horse and should be an early type."
b c Ifraaj - Childa
"He'll be a really good horse and he has just had a setback in that he has sore shins. As soon as he gets over that he will run and hopefully by the end of May. I hope he could be an Ascot horse."
b c Teofilo - Distorted Promise
"He is going nicely and we have high hopes for him. He should be ready to run in August."
ch f Raven's Pass - Fabia
"She is out of a Sadler's Wells mare and I quite like her but she won't be out until September time."
b c Style Vendome - Forewarned
"Again he is going to take a little bit of time and is a little bit backward. He probably won't be out until October."
ch c Raven's Pass - Foundation Filly
"He should run in August over six or seven furlongs and we like him."
b c Sea The Stars - Night Fairy
"He is a lovely colt by Sea The Stars who is a bit backward and shouldn't be out until September."
b c Cacique - Pleine Forme
"He is another who is a little backward but he should be out in August."
B f Galieo - Rose Bonheur
"She is a nice filly but she will be October time."
b c Champs Elysees - Ruffled
"He is by Champs Elysees and should take a little time but he is coming to himself and I think we should run him certainly by August."
b c Casamento - Sina Cova
"He is out of a Group 3 winning mare and going nicely. He is another who should be out in August."
ACLAIM - made great strides last season and chasing Group 1 glory this term.
CHELSEA LAD - missed the cut in the Lincoln but looks the sort to do well in competitive mile handicaps this term.
WILAMINA - has an impressive turn of foot and can prove at least listed class this term.
EMINENT - takes his chance in the Craven and could he be the one to provide Frankel with a first domestic Classic?
ERNSTSTAVROBLOFELD - considered well handicapped by connections and makes his return at Newmarket.
CONTRIBUTE - has been impressing in his home work and fancied to make an early strike.