Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) | 7f | 2yo colts and fillies | ITV/RUK
Fresh from conquering the Arc again with Enable, John Gosden turns his hand to domestic matters, and bids for a first success in the Dewhurst with Too Darn Hot.
Given Gosden's long and storied career, it seems somewhat incongruous the Dewhurst has not been captured previously, but he has a red-hot opportunity to claim the Group 1.
Unbeaten in three starts, Too Darn Hot has lived up to his name, torching his rivals with a high cruising speed which has led to that trio of imperious victories.
Ante-post favourite for next season's Qipco 2,000 Guineas and Investec Derby, Too Darn Hot's pedigree suggests better can be expected over further, although Gosden is not entirely sure if Too Darn Hot's stamina will last at Epsom.
"He's in good order and we've been happy with him since Doncaster," the trainer said.
"It will be quicker ground than most of them have run on before and he's a short enough price given there are three or four in there who could win it. He's had a busy schedule going from a maiden to a Group 3 to a Group 2 and now the Dewhurst in the space of two months but he's working nicely. It's a big step up and Newmarket is a different track to Doncaster but he's progressive."
Should Too Darn Hot make it four wins in a row, the eyewatering 3.5 million guineas pricetag his brother made this week at Tattersalls, might start to look a snip.
Pros Has looked top-drawer in all starts and the suspicion is there is an awful lot more to come
Cons Could be at the mercy of a tactical play from the three-strong O'Brien contingent and needs to handle the Rowley Mile undulations
Anthony Van Dyck leads O'Brien's bids for seventh success
Newmarket has provided Donnacha O'Brien with three Group 1 wins this season and Ireland's champion jockey-elect will be attempting to land another big prize at the track when he partners Anthony Van Dyck for his father Aidan.
The 20-year-old won the 2,000 Guineas on Saxon Warrior and added a top-level double in the Middle Park on Ten Sovereigns and the Cheveley Park on Fairyland.
Anthony Van Dyck heads his trainer's bid for a fourth consecutive win, and a seventh success, in the race he first landed with Rock Of Gibraltar in 2001.
A year ago US Navy Flag followed in the hoofprints of Air Force Blue in 2015 and Churchill in 2016. All of those colts had won a Group 1 before running at Newmarket, unlike Anthony Van Dyck who was second to Quorto in the National Stakes last month on his first attempt at the top level.
O'Brien said: "All has gone well with Anthony Van Dyck since the National Stakes. He ran very well that day and we're looking forward to the race. He's a colt who should get longer trips next year."
O'Brien is also represented by Royal Lodge winner Mohawk and Christmas, who ran fourth in the National Stakes having previously run Anthony Van Dyck to half a length in the Futurity Stakes in August.
"Mohawk is dropping in trip and has been in good form since the Royal Lodge. Christmas is also in good form and will hopefully improve," O'Brien said.
Anthony Van Dyck pros A Group 2 winner over the trip and performed well in Group 1 over the distance last time
Anthony Van Dyck cons Stamina not an issue but could be susceptible to a rival with a better turn of foot
Sangarius to strike for Stoute?
While John Gosden does not have a Dewhurst on his CV, fellow Newmarket statesman Sir Michael Stoute does, although you have to go back to 1986 and Ajdal to find it.
Stoute-trained horses are associated with a slow-burn release of talent over several seasons rather than precocity, but Sangarius has been plenty sharp enough at two, winning both starts.
The Kingman colt followed up a debut win on Newmarket's July course with an authoritative victory in the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster.
What connections will be seeking to avoid, however, is a repeat of last year's Dewhurst experience. Expert Eye came into the race with a similar profile and was sent off the 4-7 favourite, but he proved a bitter disappointment, finishing last behind US Navy Flag.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "He's progressing. Obviously he's going to have to step up a few more gears from the Doncaster run – it looks a very strong renewal.
"He's a nice scopey horse and is a work in progress. We're looking forward to him on Saturday but as a three-year-old as well."
Sangarius will also have a different jockey for the third time in as many starts, with William Buick called upon as previous partners Ryan Moore and James Doyle are in Australia.
Pros Unbeaten in two starts and appears versatile ground-wise
Cons This demands a lot more and Stoute has had only three juvenile winners on the Rowley Mile in the last five seasons (from 45 runners)
Murphy out to advertise his Group 1 skills again
This season has seen the rise of Phoenix Thoroughbreds to racing's top table, and the powerful owners have the opportunity to grab a first Group 1 in Britain with Advertise.
Frankie Dettori, who rode Advertise to victory in the July Stakes and then the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes, is on board Too Darn Hot, but in Oisin Murphy connections have a star replacement.
Murphy has been in scintillating form, securing eight Group 1s, and knows all about Advertise having ridden him at Royal Ascot when only Calyx proved too good in the Coventry Stakes.
Trainer Martyn Meade said: "Whatever Advertise has done at home since the Phoenix has been perfectly pleasing – he's had no issues at all, touch wood, and will be better and stronger than ever.
"His preparation has gone totally according to plan – whether he's good enough, only time will tell."
Completing the field is Kuwait Currency for Richard Hannon.
Successful on two of his three starts, most recently in a Listed race at Salisbury, the son of Kitten's Joy will need to take a big step forward on form.
Hannon said: "Kuwait Currency is a Listed winner who, apart from his debut, has been very impressive, so he’s worthy of a place in the field all right. Having said that, if he finishes placed we'll be delighted."
Advertise pros Already a Group 1 winner, and has the assistance of a red-hot jockey
Advertise cons Has only raced at six furlongs to date and needs to prove stamina for seven