Holloway Boy bids to prove his surprise Royal Ascot success was no fluke in the Japan Racing Association Vintage Stakes at Goodwood on Tuesday.
The Ulysses colt was viewed as little more than a social runner by trainer Karl Burke when thrown in at the deep end on his racecourse debut at last month’s showpiece meeting in Berkshire.
But after being dropped out last early on by Danny Tudhope, Holloway Boy came through to win the Chesham Stakes by a length, earning this step up to Group Two level.
Burke said: “We’re delighted with him and you would think he’ll strip a little bit fitter, although he hardly blew at Ascot to be fair.
“We haven’t really worked him that hard since the Chesham, to be honest. Danny Tudhope had a sit on him last week, that’s as much as he’s done, but Danny was delighted with him.
“It’s a step forward and it’s only his second run. With most of ours, whatever they do first time out they improve on and I don’t think he’ll be any exception.
“I’ll be disappointed if we don’t run well, but he’s got to overcome the track – it’s a totally different track to Ascot.
“We’re pretty relaxed about it. Fingers crossed he’ll run a huge race.”
Mark Johnston has saddled four previous winners of the Vintage Stakes, including two subsequent Classic heroes in Mister Baileys (1993) and Shamardal (2004).
This year the Middleham handler, who now trains in partnership with son Charlie, is represented by two unbeaten colts in Dear My Friend and Dornoch Castle.
Dear My Friend supplemented debut success at Carlisle with a runaway victory at Beverley, while Dornoch Castle has impressed at Haydock and Ayr.
“There are a couple of horses in there that have been tried and test at Group level, whereas both of ours have only run in maidens and novices and are taking a big jump in class,” said Charlie Johnston.
“But the manner of their performances and the form of those that they’ve beaten warrant stepping up to this kind of level.
“I would struggle to split them, to be fair. Dornoch Castle’s form is probably a touch stronger as there’s a lot of horses that have come out of his races and won subsequently.
“But the other horse did well to win over six furlongs because it was far too sharp for him at Carlisle and it was just his class that got him out of trouble – and when he stepped up to seven at Beverley he was very impressive, albeit he didn’t beat a lot.
“They’re both in good form and who knows how good they are? We’ll find out on Tuesday.”
Galeron, who is already a winner at Goodwood for Charlie Hills, and Marbaan, who has won two of his three starts for Charlie Fellowes also feature.