Air Raid bids to provide trainer Jedd O’Keeffe with a second victory in the £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy at York on Saturday.
The Leyburn-based trainer landed the lucrative handicap with Shared Equity in 2015 and is hopeful Air Raid can carry the same colours of owners Caron and Paul Chapman to success on the Knavesmire this weekend.
The four-year-old has already won three times this season – claiming back-to-back wins at Hamilton in June before returning to the Scottish track to add to his tally in July.
He finished down the field in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood on his latest appearance, but O’Keeffe is confident of an improved performance on the final day of York’s season.
He said: “He’s in really good shape and obviously this race has been on the agenda for quite some time. We’re happy the ground is on the slow side and we’re hoping it stays like that – the softer the better for us.”
Air Raid was due to run in last month’s Ayr Gold Cup, but was a late withdrawal.
“He was unlucky to miss the Ayr Gold Cup – he stood on a shoe in the horse box and went lame, so he had to be pulled out on the morning,” O’Keeffe added.
“We’ve prepared for this contest since then.”
Asked to compare Air Raid to Shared Equity, the trainer said: “They both like give in the ground and they’re both big, long-striding horses who will handle York well. They’re similar in lots of ways and we’re coming back hoping for a repeat.”
Air Raid is part of a maximum field of 22 runners, with Kevin Ryan relying on Hey Jonesy as he bids to win the race for the third year in succession.
David O’Meara fires a four-pronged assault, with Summerghand, Gulliver, Intisaab and Cold Stare all declared.
Other contenders include Mick Appleby’s top-weight Danzeno, the William Haggas-trained Aplomb and Michael Dods’ Get Knotted.
Earlier on the card, 12 promising juveniles are set to line up in the Listed coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes.
The hot favourite is the Tim Easterby-trained Lampang, who maintained his unbeaten record with an impressive five-length success at Ripon a fortnight ago.
His rivals include Mark Johnston’s pair of Huraiz and Misty Grey – and John Quinn’s Goodwood winner Cobra Eye.