El Caballo will try to extend his winning run to six and book his Commonwealth Cup slot in Haydock’s Cazoo Sandy Lane Stakes on Saturday.
An 11-strong field is set to go to post for the six-furlong Group Two and it is the Havana Gold colt that is disputing favouritism at 5-2 having seen the form of his Newcastle victory over Tiber Flow boosted in the Carnarvon Stakes at Newbury.
Karl Burke’s charge has not lost since finishing second to the now retired Armor on debut and his handler is keen to see how the three-year-old fares running at Group level for the first time.
“We’re looking forward to seeing him run, he’s in great form, we think he’s got a great draw and it should be a fast-run race.
“We will learn a lot and we will know where we’re going for the rest of the year afterwards. It looks a very competitive race and I would imagine the winner will be favourite for the Commonwealth Cup afterwards.
“Tiber Flow winning at Newbury was good to see and we ran a very good race after running with the choke out for a while at Newcastle, so I’m very happy with the horse and looking forward to seeing him run.
Clive Cox is double-handed in the race he won in 2017 with Harry Angel and saddles both Caturra and Wings Of War.
The former is the mount of Adam Kirby and tuned-up for this trip to Merseyside by finishing second in the Prix Sigy at Chantilly on reappearance, while David Probert partners Wings Of War for the first time, with last year’s Mill Reef winner tried in cheekpieces following a lacklustre return at Ascot in the Pavilion Stakes.
The winner of that Group Three was David Loughnane’s Go Bears Go and the Kodi Bear colt is alongside El Caballo at the top of the market for this race.
The Shropshire-based trainer is hoping for a bold showing here that will set him up for perfectly for a return to Berkshire for Group One action at the Royal meeting.
He said: “He’s in very good order, he came out of his first run absolutely fine, 100 per cent. The plan is to head to Haydock and then go back to Ascot for the Commonwealth Cup.”
Another trainer set to saddle two is Hugo Palmer who relies on his pair of recent Chester scorers, Flaming Rib and Ever Given.
Palmer will be hoping the Merseyside track becomes a happy hunting ground having moved to Michael Owen’s Manor House stables and said: “Any rain that comes will help both of their chances. I was very pleased with their runs at Chester.
“Both are going to have to make the required step up to make their presence felt at this level, but that’s what trials are about.”
Ger Lyon’s unbeaten Beauty Inspire scooped Group Three honours at the Curragh last time and has to be respected on this trip across the Irish Sea, while another arriving in winning form is Mark and Charlie Johnston’s Tippy Toes, who made it three-in-a-row when winning at Chelmsford on reappearance.
Gis A Sub was a beaten favourite when returning at Musselburgh, but will appreciate the return to six furlongs with the field completed by Brian Meehan’s Vertiginous and Keith Dalgleish’s Edward Cornelius.