Charlie Appleby is looking forward to seeing Quorto test his Classic credentials in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh.
The Godolphin runner faces six rivals in this seven-furlong Group One, including the Aidan O’Brien-trained Tyros and Futurity Stakes winner Anthony Van Dyck.
Having made a huge impression in winning his first two starts at Newmarket, including a dominant display in the Superlative Stakes, Quorto is a best priced 16-1 for the Guineas next May and Appleby hopes he can enhance his claims on Sunday.
“He’s had a nice break since the Superlative and his preparation has gone very well,” said the Newmarket handler.
“It’s time for us to step him up now and I think the Guineas picture will be a lot clearer after this weekend.
“We said after Newmarket we’d aim for the Curragh. We also had the option of the Champagne Stakes if it looked like coming up very soft in Ireland, but it looks like it will be no worse than good to soft and that should be fine.
“He has an action that suggests he’ll actually appreciate ground on the easy side of good, although obviously you couldn’t fault what he’s done on fast ground so far.
“Until we put the gun to his head, so to speak, we won’t know for sure, but as long as it doesn’t go very soft, I think he’ll handle it.”
Anthony Van Dyck, who is also a 16-1 shot for next season’s Rowley Mile Classic, is one of four runners for O’Brien along with Christmas, Land Force and Mohawk.
He said: “Anthony Van Dyck is in good form. We were delighted with him the last day and he seems to have come out of the race well.
“He’s a lazy type of horse. He has the experience now with four runs under his belt and we can finish up after this or he can step up.”
Fozzy Stack’s pair of Highland Fortune and Wargrave complete the seven-strong field.
The juvenile fillies get their chance to shine in the preceding Moyglare Stud Stakes.
Setting the standard is Patrick Prendergast’s Skitter Scatter, who has earned her step up to the highest level with recent wins in the Group Three Silver Flash at Leopardstown and the Group Two Debutante over this course and distance.
Prendergast said: “She’s in good health and we’re looking forward to it.
“She couldn’t have done any more the last day. I thought she won quite well and she won with a little bit in hand.
“What makes her a little bit exceptional is that she’s a small filly in stature, but she has an incredible attitude. She’s an aggressive little filly and she’s very competitive at home on the gallops and I believe that she wants to win.
“Going to the Moyglare, we would be conscious – and it’s my job to worry – are we going to the well once too often? But she has very sporting owners and they know all about that.
“If it doesn’t work we’ve lost nothing, it’s been a great year, and she’ll go back to the stud on her holidays.”
O’Brien’s three runners are Hermosa, Just Wonderful and Zagitova.
He said: “Just Wonderful won over a mile the last day and we don’t think she’ll have any problem coming back to seven furlongs. She’s in good form.
“Zagitova is in good form, too. We thought that she would come forward from the run the last day.
“The experience would have done her good and we’ve been happy with her since.”
There are two major contenders from across the Irish Sea, with Appleby saddling Beyond Reason, who has won her last two starts at Pattern level in France, and Mark Johnston sending the four-times winner Main Edition.
Appleby said: “She’s done nothing but progress during the course of the season and her last performance in France was quite impressive.
“I think her main attributes are that she’s a very genuine filly and she brings a nice bit of experience into the race.
“She’s shown at Deauville she appreciates a bit of give in the ground, so conditions shouldn’t be a problem.”
Main Edition won the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and bounced back from a disappointing run in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes with victory in the Sweet Solera last month.
Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “We are really happy with her and we are looking forward to Sunday. She seems to be in good order at home.
“The seven-furlong trip is not a worry and she has won on fast ground and on softer ground, so she is pretty versatile.
“She has got to a live chance.”
Michael O’Callaghan’s Angelic Light, Jim Bolger’s pair of Bandiuc Eile and Smart Flies and Sheila Lavery’s star filly Lady Kaya are the other hopefuls.