Aidan O’Brien expects City Of Troy will gain some valuable experience as he makes his eagerly-anticipated return in the Native Trail’s Dewhurst Stakes.
The son of Justify made a winning debut at the Curragh in July and then blew the field away to take the Superlative Stakes by six and a half lengths later in the same month.
The National Stakes was then bypassed due to unsuitable ground and while the going was officially described as soft on Friday, connections are happy to take up their Rowley Mile engagement as they look to get another run in before the end of the campaign.
City Of Troy currently heads the betting for next year’s 2000 Guineas and Derby, with O’Brien viewing the Dewhurst as a perfect ending to the colt’s campaign.
O’Brien said: “He’s ready for his third run. Obviously he was due to the go the Curragh three weeks ago and that didn’t work, but everyone is happy with him.
“We always loved him and he’s done everything we’ve asked him so far. This should be a lovely run to finish him off for the year and give him more experience.
“Everything is well with him. He is a beautiful moving horse.”
Also entered is Owen Burrows’ Alyanaabi, a Shadwell-owned colt who was last seen winning the Group Three Tattersalls Stakes over course and distance in late September.
Of that performance, Burrows said: “I felt he had to quicken at a few stages in the Group Three last time. He had to quicken down the hill and he had to quicken going up the hill.
“I’m not concerned if there is lack of pace in the race as this horse has won over six furlongs, so if it did turn into a sprint late on I wouldn’t be concerned. He is pretty versatile.
“We always felt he was this level and the fact I pitched him in a Listed race on his second start (Pat Eddery Stakes) instead of going for a novice race under a penalty suggested that.
“He has always shown a fair level and it wasn’t out of the realms of possibility he would be rocking up in a race like this.”
Charlie Hills’ Iberian was a winner last time out when taking the Champagne Stakes under Tom Marquand, the same jockey who takes the rides at Newmarket on Saturday.
He said: “I’m looking forward to riding him and obviously he will have to take another step forward, but he holds all the credentials for a horse that you are going into a race like that on.
“It’s a different task but one he looks ready to go and tackle.
“I was very impressed (at Doncaster) like everyone else who was watching him and he showed a good turn of foot, which is what you need over seven in a Group One. There’s obviously been Group One winners behind him, albeit on different ground. He’s in top order so fingers crossed.”
On the threat of City Of Troy, the rider added: “We’ve only seen him on a racecourse twice and he’s off a three-month absence since the Superlative. While he was impressive in that, if ever there is a day to take on a horse like that, this is it. Circumstances are probably as ever in our favour as they can be and I’m looking forward to it.”
Juddmonte and Andrew Balding have supplemented Mill Reef winner Array into the race where he will be ridden by James Doyle.
Juddmonte’s Barry Mahon said: “It’s a big task, but he’s in good form and won the Mill Reef well.
“No Nay Never’s progeny seem to excel at two and there wasn’t a whole lot left for him this year, so the owners were keen to give it a go and so was Andrew and we said we’d give it a rattle.
“I think we’re confident enough about the trip – Oisin (Murphy) was pretty confident that he’d stay the seven the last day.”
Eve Johnson Houghton has an entrant in Indian Run, a dual winner this term who made his Group debut when landing the Acomb Stakes at York by a length and a half in August.
“He’s got a big day and obviously it’s a hot race, it’s a championship race,” the trainer said.
“He goes there in great form and we go there very hopeful. He’s done everything we’ve ever asked of him, so let’s hope he keeps on going that way.”
Completing the field is John and Thady Gosden’s Eben Shaddad, third in the Tattersalls Stakes, Richard Hannon’s Vintage Stakes winner Haatem and O’Brien’s Henry Adams.