Ante-post favourite Chindit is one of 12 colts declared for the Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes at Newbury.
Richard Hannon’s charge was hugely impressive in winning his first three starts as a juvenile – completing his hat-trick with a Group Two victory in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.
However, the son of Wootton Bassett returns to action on a recovery mission on Sunday, having failed to fire when last seen contesting the Dewhurst at Newmarket in October.
Marcus Tregoning’s Alkumait is in a similar situation, with the Mill Reef Stakes winner making his first appearance since finishing last of 14 in the Dewhurst.
Also prominent in the betting is the Clive Cox-trained Nando Parrado, who was a shock 150-1 winner of the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer, before going on to finish second in back-to-back Group Ones in France.
Mehmento is a fascinating contender for trainer Archie Watson, jockey Hollie Doyle and owners Hambleton Racing.
The Mehmas colt faces a big rise in class, but could hardly have been more impressive in winning twice on the all-weather at Southwell.
Cosmo Charlton, Hambleton’s head racing manager, said: “He’s done nothing wrong, dotting up twice at Southwell.
“On the second occasion, he actually recorded one of the quickest times ever at Southwell – I think the final two furlongs were in the top 10 in Southwell history, and obviously there has been some good older horses that have won there over the years.
“He’s done that hard on the bridle as well, so he’s a horse with immense potential.
“He’s a grinder who gets down to work – and when you give him the office he really picks up.
“It’s hard to know how good he is until he’s given a proper test. Going from Southwell to the Greenham is probably not the normal path – but he’s in great form, and it’s certainly worth a shout, given how impressive he’s been.”
David Menuisier pitches new recruit Xaario into the race, with the ex-French colt boasting some smart bits of form having been beaten two lengths by subsequent Group One scorer Sealiway on his debut before hacking up by six lengths next time.
He disappointed on his final start for Pia and Joakim Brandt, but Xaario had a valid excuse.
Menuisier said: “He did something to his back on heavy ground at ParisLongchamp in October and had to have surgery.
“His previous form had looked quite good in winning by six lengths and finishing behind Sealiway, so it will be interesting to see how he gets on in the Greenham.
“If he were to run well on Sunday and go for a Guineas, I think he would be more likely to go to France than Newmarket as racing round a bend would probably suit him better.”
Fillies with Classic aspirations get their chance to shine in the preceding Dubai Duty Free Stakes – better known as the Fred Darling.
The standard is set by Andrew Balding’s Alcohol Free, who rounded off her two-year-old campaign with a Group One success in the Cheveley Park Stakes.
Also featuring in a field of 17 are Cox’s Isabella Giles, Hannon’s Happy Romance, the Karl Burke-trained Dandalla and the unbeaten Lucid Dreamer from Roger Charlton’s yard.
The first of three Group races on the card is the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes – registered as the John Porter.
Jim Goldie’s stable stalwart Euchen Glen heads a nine-strong line-up, with the William Haggas-trained Al Aasy the likely market leader.
Other hopefuls include Tyson Fury and Outbox, who has won his last two starts for the Hambleton Racing team.
“He won well at Doncaster last time under a great ride from Hollie Doyle and he was a good winner of a handicap before that as well,” said Cosmo Charlton.
“He’s got a fantastic pedigree and hopefully he could run a good race for us.”