Boitron puts his Classic credentials on the line in the Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
The seven-furlong heat lost some of its sparkle when hot favourite Too Darn Hot was ruled out through injury on Wednesday, but Boitron still brings some decent form to the table having finished fourth in last year’s Group One Prix Jean Luc Lagardere on his final start last term.
Winner of his previous three outings for trainer Richard Hannon, Boitron has undergone wind surgery over the winter and connections believe his form withstands the closest inspection.
Tim Palin, racing manager for part-owners Middleham Park Racing, said: “The Lagardere form was given a boost by Broome winning the Ballysax last weekend and the fifth horse Shaman came out and won the Prix la Force recently.
“It was a bit of a strange race, they seemed to keep the same order throughout, on the pace was the place to be and we found ourselves with too much to do.
“That was his first run in a Group One, but he was far from disgraced.
“We think he wants a mile, he’s bred for it.”
Mohaather marked himself as a potential Classic contender when securing his second win in three career outings in the Molson Coors Stakes – better known as the Horris Hill – over this seven furlongs last October.
Sent off the 33-1 outsider on that occasion, he ran out a comfortable winner and trainer Marcus Tregoning has been pleased by his progress over the winter.
He said: “I think we’ve had a pretty straightforward winter. It has been relatively mild compared to last year when we got all the snow. We’ve had a good run with him and he seems in good form.
“Ultimately the Horris Hill was an indication that we might have a nice horse. He had been working very well at home and I was impressed in the way he won.
“He is still learning. I think he has more to offer because he was still a bit green. When he hit the front there he just had to be caught hold of a little. He definitely has ability and we will see if he has trained on.”
With intended mount Too Darn Hot on the sidelines, Frankie Dettori teams up with Hugo Palmer’s challenger Almufti, who won one of his four outings last term and finished third behind Mohaather on his final outing of 2018.
Palmer said: “He is an interesting horse. We thought a huge amount of him last year. He was disappointing the first two times and he had rumbling sore shins and I had to take my medicine and give him the time he needed.
“He came back and won very well at Kempton, then he ran a good race on ground too soft in the Horris Hill.
“He has shown plenty of speed, so it will be interesting to see what his best trip is. He could be a Britannia or a Jersey horse in time.”
John Gosden, meanwhile, is confident the setback that prevented Too Darn Hot from running in the Greenham Stakes will not keep him out of the Qipco 2000 Guineas.