Kinross returns to his optimum trip with connections confident he can reclaim his World Pool Lennox Stakes crown at Goodwood on Tuesday.
Few trainers head to the Sussex Downs with their team in better form than Ralph Beckett, who has been operating at a 30 per cent strike-rate in recent weeks.
And Kinross lines up against six rivals in the seven-furlong Group Two contest, a race he won two years ago and finished a neck second to Sandrine last year, with a favourite’s chance.
He has won his last three over the trip, including the Prix de la Foret, and is a dual top-level winner following last term’s British Champions Sprint success.
The consistent Kingman gelding, who will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, went close to making it a hat-trick of Group One victories with a close-up third to Shaquille in the July Cup at Newmarket last time.
“He is a year older now, but he was unlucky not to win it last year and he did win it the year before, so it looks a great spot to get back to winning ways,” said Jamie McCalmont, racing manager for owner Marc Chan.
“There is no doubt this is his best distance. He likes the course and he’s justifiably the favourite, even though that doesn’t mean he will win the race.”
This will be the first opportunity for three-year-old Isaac Shelby to take on his elders.
The Brian Meehan-trained Night Of Thunder colt, who is in receipt of 6lb from Kinross, won the Superlative last season and the Greenham on his first run this term over the same distance.
Upped to a mile, he was beaten a short neck in the French 2000 Guineas, before being a little too keen on quicker ground when a well-held fourth to Paddington in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“He’s back to seven (furlongs) and hopefully that will see him in his best light,” said Richard Brown, racing adviser for owners Wathnan Racing.
“It’s a tight, competitive race and Kinross will be tough to beat. But the horse is in great form and we’re looking forward to it.
“He got lit up and things didn’t really go to plan at Ascot. I’m not trying to use an excuse and saying he would have won there, but back in trip and back in grade here, he should be thereabouts.”
Trained by John and Thady Gosden, Audience has won twice since being gelded and followed up a Leicester success in October with a two-length win in the Group Three Criterion Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket on his seasonal bow.
Chris Richardson, managing director of owner Cheveley Park Stud, said: “This race is the natural progression really and he came out of the Newmarket race well.
“He has not been straightforward, but gelding seems to have worked and we are now seeing what we were seeing on the gallops, but not on the racecourse.
“He was just not performing on the track as we thought he would and should have been. It was just one of those rather frustrating things, but it was lovely to see him bounce back and follow up the previous win with such an emphatic success.”