William Knight is happy that his Ballard Down is heading into Saturday’s 32Red Lincoln at Doncaster “under the radar”.
The lightly-raced five-year-old was last seen winning at Newmarket in July, when subsequent Winter Derby winner Master The World chased him home.
A problem has kept him off the track since but Knight feels Doncaster’s straight mile on soft ground will really play to his strengths.
“This has been his target and we’ve enjoyed a nice preparation with him,” said Knight. “The flat track on soft ground will suit him and he’s done plenty of work, so he’ll go there fit and ready to run.
“He’s got good form in the book and crucially on soft ground, as I think that will be vital this weekend. I think the flat track will suit him as well.”
He added: “I quite like the fact not many are talking about him, we’re happy to be under the radar.”
Clive Cox’s Flying Childers winner Heartache could return in the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot.
The daughter of Kyllachy won the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer and while she suffered her first defeat when third in the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte on her next start, she rounded off her juvenile campaign with a third career victory in the Doncaster Group Two.
She could step up to six furlongs for the first time in the Pavilion Stakes on May 2 with a view to returning to Ascot for the Commonwealth Cup the following month.
Sam Hoskins, racing manager for the owners The Hot To Trot Syndicate, said: “I saw Heartache at Clive’s around 10 days ago and she looked fantastic.
“She’s wintered very well and looks stronger and the long-term plan would be the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
“She mixed it with the boys on her last two starts last year. She was far from disgraced behind Unfortunately in France and then beat Havana Grey at Doncaster.
“We’ve always felt she will stay six furlongs, but we’ll probably give her the chance to prove it in one of the trials, maybe in the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot.”
Hoskins is hoping lightning can strike twice, with Heartache’s half-sister also having been leased from Whitsbury Manor Stud on behalf of the syndicate and sent into training with Cox.
“We’ve also got the little sister, Heartwarming, who is a two-year-old filly by Showcasing,” Hoskins added.
“We’ve probably used up all our luck but the early signs are good with her, so fingers crossed.”
Racing Post Trophy hero Saxon Warrior could begin his Classic campaign in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5.
An unbeaten three-race juvenile season culminated in Group One glory at Doncaster in the autumn, and the Aidan O’Brien-trained son of Deep Impact heads the ante-post markets for the Guineas and the Investec Derby.
O’Brien opened his Ballydoyle stable to the press on Wednesday morning, and said of Saxon Warrior: “He’s done very well and is a massive, big, physical horse. He was a big horse last year but he’s bigger this year.
“We have our eye on the Guineas and we’re just hoping that we have him ready in time for it.
“He could well get a mile and a half as he has a relaxed way of doing it, so it will be very interesting with him.
“He’ll probably go straight for the Guineas. He could go for a run but I’d imagine he’ll probably go for a racecourse gallop instead.
“The only race that really suits us before the Guineas is Leopardstown.
“The Craven is too close to travel over and the Greenham is the same as we wouldn’t like to travel them that close.”