Calyx looks set to put his unbeaten record on the line at Haydock on Saturday as he is prepared for a tilt at the Commonwealth Cup.
Calyx, photo Liesl King
The son of Kingman, a general 6-4 favourite for the Royal Ascot Group 1, was one of seven runners left in the £90,000 Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes on Monday.
After a lengthy layoff through injury, Calyx missed the 2,000 Guineas and made a blistering comeback when winning the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes by three lengths for trainer John Gosden.
"He's been going nicely since winning at Ascot and the race at Haydock fits in well before a potential tilt at the royal meeting," said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.
"He's always had considerable talent and it was nice to see him quicken up like he did at Ascot, especially after his injury. He's a powerful horse who seems to take his racing well.
"The Commonwealth Cup is the plan, as he shows considerable speed, but we haven't ruled out looking at a mile later in the year. He's started off exceptionally well and hopefully he can go on to prove everyone right."
The Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes over six furlongs is a recognised trial for the Commonwealth Cup, with Quiet Reflection the most recent winner to follow up at Royal Ascot in 2016.
Among Calyx's possible rivals are the progressive Leodis Dream, who steps up to Group company in search of a six-timer, and the Kevin Ryan-trained Hello Youmzain.
Later on the card, the Michael Dods-trained Mabs Cross tops eight confirmations for the Group 2 Temple Stakes, which also includes last year's winner Battaash – who was installed as 11-10 favourite by Coral.
Nunthorpe winner Alpha Delphini and the Tom Dascombe-trained Kachy were among the other names left in the £100,000 contest at the five-day stage.
"Kachy is in good form and the target is the Temple Stakes," said Dascombe. "He's been a better horse this year. He ran at Lingfield off his highest-ever rating and everything about him makes you think he's improved.
"He ran well in the Temple Stakes last year when he was beaten a head and a neck and we're hopeful of another good performance. He's entered in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee and King's Stand at Royal Ascot and we'll see how he gets on at Haydock before making any plans."
Sergei Prokofiev was also among those left in the Temple Stakes field but trainer Aidan O'Brien has since ruled him out.
"The King's Stand Stakes is the plan for him and he won't run before then," he said on Monday.