Charlie Fellowes has admitted to harbouring concerns about the ground being too fast for King Carney in the Betsafe Derby Trial at Lingfield and is set to walk the course before giving the green light.
The Australia colt won his final two outings last season, including at Listed level at Pontefract.
He is set to concede 3lb to all of his rivals due to his penalty, but Fellowes still believes he is the one to beat on Friday.
“I’m a bit concerned about the ground and I’m going to go and walk it before hand so that is a little bit of a concern,” said Fellowes
“I don’t think he is as ground dependent as something like (stablemate) King Ottokar and they do a very good job at Lingfield and George (Hill, clerk of the course) will have put plenty of water on down that hill.
“If we are going to go for nice targets he has got to go on the ground so we will find out a lot. It is the right race to go for and he is the one to beat. He has a penalty but he has got a lovely way of going and he will suit the track.
“He is the sort of horse you wouldn’t know how good he is, as he is not the flashiest work horse at home, but he has done some really nice pieces of work. He is quite an exuberant horse on the racecourse and he is the same at home so all the time I’m trying to do as little as possible with him.”
Mark Johnston has started the new season is red-hot form and runs two, King’s Caper and Dark Heart.
His son and assistant Charlie Johnston said: “Realistically King’s Caper is a horse that at the moment we don’t have Derby aspirations for, but at the same time, as is often the case with these trials, he comes out near the top on ratings and there is nowhere else to really go with a horse like him at the moment.
“On the figures he has got every right to be there. He will improve for stepping up in trip that’s for sure. He is quite a handy little horse so Lingfield will not pose him any problems.
“If the Derby winner is in there then it will be too good for him but he is 99-rated, he is solid and will run his race.”
He added: “Dark Heart is a very nice horse. He should have won at Lingfield when he ran out (wide) then he beat what was put in front of him at Newcastle.
“He will find Lingfield and the trip sharp for sure but he is a lightly-raced horse. Having run about two starts ago he showed that he is still quite green mentally. I hope he is a Queen’s Vase horse.
“If there is another horse in the yard that will climb through the ranks like Sir Ron Priestley did last year he is an obvious candidate.”
Ed Walker’s English King, Andrew Balding’s Berkshire Rocco and the Brian Meehan-trained Sound Of Cannons are others with leading claims.