Too Darn Hot is the undoubted star attraction among 14 entries for the Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
John Gosden’s colt enjoyed a magnificent juvenile campaign, winning each of his four starts including a dominant victory in the Dewhurst at Newmarket on his final appearance.
The son of Dubawi is already odds-on with some bookmakers for next month’s Qipco 2000 Guineas and will be widely expected to make a winning return in this weekend’s recognised trial for the first colts’ Classic of the season.
The going at Newbury is soft, good to soft in places, with a prolonged spell of showers forecast into Tuesday before clearing to leave mainly dry weather for the rest of the week.
Gosden does not want to see too much rain, saying: “I am happy with the horse. He is in good order. He is coming up to the race nicely, but quite frankly I wouldn’t like to see a whole bundle of more rain.
“This is a horse with an electric turn of foot. You don’t necessarily want to go running in very testing ground first time out.”
The Craven at Newmarket next week could also have been an option for Too Darn Hot’s return.
But Gosden said: “Obviously I like Newbury as a track, as well as Newmarket, but I wanted to run over seven furlongs first rather than go straight to a mile and this has been the plan since the Dewhurst.”
Too Darn Hot does though look set to be given a decent test, with several high-class three-year-olds in contention to take him on – including the Marcus Tregoning-trained Mohaather.
The Showcasing colt is already a course and distance winner, having rounded off last season with a surprise victory in the Group Three Horris Hill.
Angus Gold, racing manager to Mohaather’s owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “I believe the plan is for Mohaather to run at Newbury on Saturday.
“Somebody has to take him (Too Darn Hot) on and we’ll have a better idea of where we stand afterwards.”
Richard Hannon has a strong hand, with Boitron, He’Zanarab, Urban Icon and Watan all in the mix.
Other contenders include Kevin Ryan’s Hello Youmzain, Tom Dascombe’s Great Scot and No Nonsense from David Elsworth’s yard.
The equivalent race for the fillies is the Dubai Duty Free Stakes – better known as the Fred Darling.
This seven-furlong Group Three has attracted 21 entries, with Aidan O’Brien’s potential Irish challenger So Perfect perhaps setting the standard.
The speedy daughter of Scat Daddy was beaten less than a length in successive Group Ones last season – finishing second in the Phoenix Stakes and third in the Cheveley Park – and was last seen when third at the Breeders’ Cup.
The home team is headed by Hannon’s Star Terms, who rounded off her juvenile year by finishing a close third in the Group One Prix Marcel Boussac at ParisLongchamp.
Mark Johnston’s Main Edition is also among the hopefuls.