Karl Burke expects Lord Of The Lodge to prove a tough nut to crack in the Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.
Thursday’s seven-furlong Group Three – better known as the Somerville Tattersall Stakes – has this year attracted a field of seven high-class juveniles, with Lord Of The Lodge very much setting the standard.
The Ayr maiden winner was never a factor in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, or in the Listed Rose Bowl at Newbury, but has raised his game significantly since – with a dominant victory at Haydock followed by a runner-up finish behind Threat in the Gimcrack at York.
Burke said: “He ran a super race in the Gimcrack, and we think he’s taken a step forward since then.
“The step up to seven furlongs should be within his range. If he can reproduce the form he showed over six furlongs in the Gimcrack over seven furlongs on Thursday, he’s the one they’ve all got to beat.”
Lord Of The Lodge is 7lb clear of his rivals on official ratings, with Richard Hannon’s consistent colt Oh Purple Reign next in line.
Hannon also saddles Manigardo, who remains a maiden after three starts, but did finish a close-up fourth in a valuable sales race at Doncaster on his latest appearance.
Mark Johnston’s Monoski drops in grade after finishing fourth behind the brilliant Pinatubo in the Group One National Stakes in Ireland.
Irish hopes rest on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Wichita, who made a winning debut at the Curragh before touched off by Molatham in the Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster.
The Charlie Hills-trained Persuasion and Ropey Guest, from George Margarson’s stable, are the other hopefuls.
Listed honours are up for grabs in the following Jockey Club Rose Bowl Stakes over two miles.
Roger Charlton’s Withhold bids to bounce back to form after disappointing in the Ebor at York last month, while Johnston’s Austrian School makes his first competitive appearance since finishing ninth in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle in June.
Hasanabad was last seen winning in good style at the Galway Festival, since when he has changed hands for £230,000 and left Dermot Weld to join Ian Williams.
“He’s seems a very straightforward horse,” said the Alvechurch-based trainer.
“It’s a bold shout to start him in this race against horses like Withhold, who is rated a lot higher than us, but it’s a good spot to get to know him on ground which will be quite suitable.”
Amanda Perrett’s Platitude and John Ryan’s Sevenna Star complete the five-strong field.