Harry Dunlop is looking forward to giving Knight To Behold his seasonal debut in the bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown on Friday – despite respecting the strength of the potential opposition.
The Sea The Stars colt enjoyed his finest hour to date in the Group Two Prix Guillaume D’Ornano at Deauville last August and will kick off the 2019 campaign at Group Three level.
However, also among the 12 possibles are last year’s winner Crystal Ocean from Sir Michael Stoute’s yard and David Menuisier’s stable star Thundering Blue.
“He’s in good form. He’s come out of the winter well,” Dunlop said of Knight To Behold.
“It does look quite a tough race with Crystal Ocean and Thundering Blue in it, but it should be a good starting block for him and we can see where we are.
“I’m hoping there’s a bit of rain around as well, which would benefit us. It will just be nice to get him out.”
There are two potential French challengers in Fabrice Chappet’s Intellogent and the Andre Fabre-trained Trais Fluors, while Ken Condon’s Success Days is the sole Irish-trained entry.
Addeybb took the bet365 Mile last spring for William Haggas and and is one of 13 entries for this year’s renewal of the Group Two.
A strong list also includes Andrew Balding’s pair of Beat The Bank and Zwayyan, Simon Crisford’s Ostilio, James Tate’s Hey Gaman and Suedois, trained by David O’Meara.
One horse unlikely to take his chance is Robin Of Navan from the Dunlop yard.
“He’s absolutely fine. We were very pleased with his run the other day (seventh in Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket), but just on paper it looks so competitive. We will be keeping an eye on it but it does look very tough,” said the Lambourn trainer.
“I’ve also entered him in the King Richard III at Leicester the following day, so we’ll have a look at that as well.”
John Gosden can choose from Alfaatik and Travel On as he seeks to add to his record haul of nine wins in the bet365 Classic Trial.
There are 15 entries, but five of them – Arthur Kitt, Cape Of Good Hope, Cap Francais, Massam and Sameem – have been declared for the Investec Blue Riband Trial at Epsom on Wednesday.
Aidan O’Brien is triple-handed with Albuquerque, Cape Of Good Hope and Old Glory, while Andrew Balding’s Bangkok and the Mark Johnston-trained Persian Moon are among others in the mix.