William Muir has an eye on next year as he gives Pyledriver the final run of his juvenile campaign in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
The Lambourn trainer feels the son of Harbour Watch could be “special” and was delighted with how he coped with testing conditions at Haydock to land the Listed Ascendant Stakes over a mile, after being beaten on soft ground at Newbury following a debut success on firm at Salisbury.
“I was concerned about the ground heading to Haydock, given what happened at Newbury. In my opinion he wants faster ground,” said Muir.
“PJ (McDonald) said the feel he gave him was that of a top-class horse.
“I think he’ll be a special horse next year. He’s 16.1 (hands) and only a frame of a horse. When he fills it completely and strengthens up, he’ll be a very nice horse.
“We said we’d give him one more run and we’ve decided on this.”
Kameko is expected to have come on a bundle for his fine effort in the Solario Stakes.
The Andrew Balding-trained colt showed his experience in the early stages on what was only his second start, but the penny dropped and he finished to such good effect that he got within a nose of catching the winner, Positive.
“Obviously it was a smashing run last time at Sandown,” said Balding.
“We’re delighted with the way he’s come out of the race. The extra furlong should suit him.
“I think he’s developing into a really nice horse and hopefully he’ll run a big race.”
Highland Chief makes his first appearance since finishing third to Pinatubo in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, on what was just his second start.
Connections of the Paul Cole-trained colt believe he has benefited physically from his time off the track.
“He’s in great form. He’s strengthened and is looking good,” said Oliver Cole, assistant to his father.
“He’s working well, he’s fit and should put up a good performance. He got knocked over in the Chesham, otherwise he’d have been closer.
“The mile should suit him. He should run a big race and he’s an exciting horse.”
Surf Dancer is taking a big hike in grade after wins at Leicester and Chelmsford, but trainer William Haggas feels the son of Lope De Vega merits the chance.
“He’s stepping up in everything – class and trip,” said the Newmarket handler.
“I like the horse and I think he’s a nice horse going forward.
“I think he deserves his shot at a better race, so we’ll see how he gets on.”
Aidan O’Brien is triple-handed with Iberia, Royal Dornoch and Year Of The Tiger, as the Ballydoyle handler bids for a seventh win in the race, while the Brian Meehan-trained Sound Of Cannons completes the field.