Dermot Weld admits he is on a fact-finding mission as new recruit Stivers makes his debut for the yard in the Sportpesa Chester Stakes on the Roodee.
The six-year-old was previously trained in Argentina, where he won at trips from a mile to a mile and a half, triumphing at Group Three level as well as placing in Group One company.
Stivers, who is Weld’s sole entry in the Lexus Melbourne Cup, jumps up to an extended mile and six furlongs at Chester on Saturday – and the trainer expects the son of Lasting Approval to feel the benefit of his first run since January, with an outing at next month’s Irish Champions Weekend in mind.
He said: “Stivers is an interesting horse. He’s come from Argentina, and running at Chester is a mission to see where we fit in.
“He’s had a nice break since he came over to me in the late spring, and this is his first run back. He’s a horse that I hope will improve a fair bit from his first run.
“The conditions of the race in Chester suit very nicely, and I thought it might set him up for Champions Weekend. I have him in the Kilternan Stakes.
“He’s a nice horse and he’ll run well, but there will be a lot of improvement in him. He’ll make a lovely staying horse.”
Stivers will be partnered by Chris Hayes as he takes on five rivals, headed by the Simon Crisford-trained Outbox – who has been running well in competitive handicaps this term but moves up to Listed level here.
Mark Johnston runs two in Persian Moon and Vivid Diamond, with Tribal Craft and Mackaar completing the line up.