Charlie Appleby expects Line Of Duty to vindicate his decision to swerve the 2000 Guineas by advancing his Investec Derby claims in the Al Basti Equiworld Dante Stakes at York.
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner will step up to a mile and a quarter in the Group Two prize on Thursday week, ahead of trying to follow in the hoofprints of stablemate Masar and give the Newmarket handler back-toback wins in the Epsom Classic.
With Line Of Duty demonstrating his appreciation for a turning track at Churchill Downs in November, Appleby feels the Knavesmire will play to the strengths of the Galileo colt.
Appleby said: “I’ve always felt this horse is better on a turning track, as it keeps him interested and that’s why I was confident going into the Breeders’ Cup – with the turns there and the hustle and bustle as he is terrier-like and loves to get into a bit of scrap.
“In a Guineas on a straight mile boredom could set in slightly. He has got a pedigree and a running style that meant the mile was going to be sharp enough as a three-year-old.
“I felt the Guineas wasn’t going to suit this horse and I wanted to go the Dante route and step up in trip and take the turn on. I’m looking forward to him running next week.
“If we have a clean bill of health between now and then and we go there in good shape, he will be a live player.”
Line Of Duty looks set to be Appleby’s sole contender for the Epsom showpiece with stablemate Al Hilalee being readied for an outing in calmer waters having failed to make an impact in the Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday.
He added: “In hindsight that calibre of race over that trip came all too soon. Potentially we are looking at going back to Newmarket over a mile and a quarter for the Fairway Stakes for him and then take it from there.
“I’m not setting any major sights for him just yet. As we stand here today Line Of Duty is our Derby horse. If we go there with one live shot, that is enough.”
As for stablemate Quorto, a return to action appears to be no closer at the moment with Appleby ruling the unbeaten Group One winner out of running at Royal Ascot next month.
He said: “He is doing well, but there are no targets. His injury has settled down and he is doing well.
“He is not going to Ascot and that is out of the picture. If I told you a date when he was going to be back I would only be making it up.”