Michael Dods is considering a couple of options at Ascot on Saturday for his progressive sprinter Dakota Gold.
The son of Equiano won four straight races between late July and early September, with three lucrative victories at York supplemented by a dominant display in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon.
He tested the water at Pattern level for the first time in the Group Three Dubai International Airport World Trophy on his latest outing – and while his winning run came to an end, he lost little in defeat in going down by just half a length to Maid In India.
Dods has entered his charge in the five-furlong Listed UK Hi-Fi Show Live Rous Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, as well as the Group Three John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes later in the afternoon.
He said: “We’ll have a look at both and see what the ground is like at the end of the week.
“It looks like the ground might be quite soft at the moment, in which case we’ll probably stick to five furlongs in the Listed race. If it looks like it’s drying out, we might go back up to six in the Group Three.
“We’re very happy with him at home and he’ll run in one of the races, all being well.”
Dakota Gold is the highest-rated horse among 23 entries for the Rous Stakes, with Clive Cox’s Tis Marvellous, the Julie Camacho-trained Judicial and Danzeno from Mick Appleby’s yard among his potential rivals.
Should he instead take up his engagement in the Bengough Stakes, he could take on Roger Varian’s Cape Byron, Robert Cowell’s Raucous and the Owen Burrows-trained Tabdeed, among others.
There are 10 entries for the other Group Three on the Ascot card – the Property Raceday Targets £3M Cumberland Lodge Stakes.
One of the potential star attractions in the mile-and-a-half contest is Sir Michael Stoute’s Sextant, who has already carried the colours of the Queen to four victories this season – including a course-and-distance successes in May and July.
He could be opposed by David Simcock’s Raakib Alhawa, Joe Tuite’s Surrey Thunder and Ed Walker’s Caradoc.
With a total prize fund of £180,000 up for grabs, the most valuable race of the day is the bet365 Challenge Cup.
There are 46 contenders for this Heritage Handicap, with the admirable Tabarrak heading the weights for Richard Hannon.
Mutamaasik could bid to secure his fifth successive win for the Varian stable in what is sure to be a fiercely-competitive affair.