Joe Tuite is confident Litigant can highlight his class by carrying top weight to glory in today’s Betfred November Handicap at Doncaster.
Although failing to cut any ice in the Group Two Long Distance Cup at Ascot last month, the lightly-raced seven-year-old had previously demonstrated his talents with victory in the Ebor at York.
While burdened with 9st 10lb, Tuite believes that may not be enough to stop Litigant landing the mile-and-a-half contest should he run to the same level of form he showed on the Knavesmire.
Tuite said: “It’s competitive. He has a lump of weight to carry but he’s in good form.
“It wasn’t the original plan, but he’s got a touch of class.
“He won the Ebor, it was a big performance and if he puts that kind of performance together, he will run well – there’s no doubt about that.”
After sending out Open Eagle to capture the race 12 months ago, trainer David O’Meara will rely on Awake My Soul, who has recently arrived back at the yard following a spell racing in Italy, to provide him with back-to-back victories.
O’Meara said: “He was sold to run abroad but he came back to us just before his run at York.
“He was in good form when he ran in this in 2013 (finished eighth) and I wouldn’t say he is any better, but he he did run well at York and he will really like the soft ground.”
Hughie Morrison is optimistic that Cousin Khee can defy a 10lb rise in the weights and follow up his facile success at Nottingham last time out.
He said: “The draw in seven could be worse. He bolted up the other day in soft conditions which he now handles as he didn’t early in life.
“We are dropping him back in trip. He is not slow but it is whether he has got the pace for that trip, but the more of a test of stamina it is, the more it will suit him.
“He has gone up 10lb for his win the other day, but I don’t think that would have stopped him. We are going there full of hope and if he could win this it would be the icing on the cake of a really good season.”
Jim Goldie is hoping Mistiroc can improve on his narrow defeat over course and distance last time out, particularly given his task has been eased with the withdrawal of that day’s winner and ante-post favourite Argus.
Goldie said: “He ran a good race. He just got nabbed on the post unfortunately.
“He should run a good race I think.”
Micky Hammond feels the soft conditions on Town Moor will play into the hands of his two runners, Blue Hussar and Only Orsenfoolsies.
He said: “We plan on running both of them. They will appreciate the ground.
“They both ran there the other week and both ran well.
“Obviously we’re hoping for them to run even better this weekend.”
Eton Rambler will return to a more familiar setting having finished fifth in a mile-and-a-half Listed contest in Spain last time out.
Although having been on the go since April, trainer George Baker has reported the consistent five-year-old to be well ahead of his last assignment of the campaign.
He said: “Eton Rambler has had a very good season and ran very well out in Spain last time out. He has come back fresh and well and is bouncing.
“It is the end of a long hard season and you can’t be 100 per cent sure that they will be on the top of their game, but he does seem very well.
“He has probably been unlucky not to have won more than he has done.
“I hope it is wet rather than tacky ground, as if it goes like that then it will be hard work for him.”
Brian Ellison is double-handed with chief hope Seamour joined by stable companion Manhattan Swing.
Seamour enjoys a drop in class after finishing sixth in the Doncaster Cup, while Manhattan Swing was not disgraced over the course and distance a fortnight ago.
Ellison said: “I’m expecting a great run from Seamour.
“He’s had a long season like a lot of horses have, but he seems in good form.
“We’ve been waiting on this and hoping we’d get soft ground, which we’ve got, so we’re happy.
“We’d have preferred a better draw, but you can’t have everything and he should run a big race.
“The other horse is in good form as well, but he’d prefer better ground, that’s the only thing.
“He does have a decent draw, so we’ll see what happens.”
With Argus ruled out after a late setback, trainer Ralph Beckett relies on Green Light, just half a length behind his sidelined stablemate last time.
Other contenders include David Barron’s Esteaming, the Andrew Balding-trained Storm Force Ten and the well-backed Zand from Mark Johnston’s yard.