John Gosden expects Cracksman to improve for the run when he makes his eagerly-anticipated reappearance in the Prix Ganay at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.
The Frankel colt had to make do with minor honours in both the Derby at Epsom and the Irish equivalent last summer, but ended the season as the highest-rated horse in Europe following a scintillating display in the Champion Stakes at Ascot.
He makes his second start in France this weekend, having won the Prix Niel at Chantilly last September, and faces six select rivals in the hands of Frankie Dettori.
Aidan O’Brien’s Rhododendron, Air Pilot from Ralph Beckett’s yard and the Andre Fabre-trained Cloth Of Stars appear to be his main opposition with fellow Fabre runners Finche and Wren’s Day completing the field along with Wild Chief.
Gosden said: “I’m happy with the horse. He will come on for the race as it is his first run of the year, but we couldn’t be happier with him at this stage.
“He has had a good winter. It has been cold, but he has been out there doing his exercise and is on good terms with himself. We are really happy with him.
“It is early days, but I don’t wind mine up fully. He will be coming into the race about 80 per cent. I don’t want them primed 100 per cent for the first run of the year.”
Cracksman warmed up for his competitive comeback with a racecourse gallop over the Rowley Mile on the opening day of the Craven meeting last week.
Gosden added: “He worked very well. I think it was rather essential we got the gallop into him as he is getting quite lazy at home. They were kind to let us go there.
“It is just down the road for us and we can pop out, get on the track and come home and it just mentally sharpens the horse.”