David Menuisier is hoping Nuits St Georges can surprise him for a second successive year by surpassing expectations in the Virgin Bet November Handicap at Doncaster.
Menuisier, who also intends to field Flyin’ Solo in the feature handicap on the final day of the Flat Turf season, headed to Town Moor 12 months ago with limited encouragement from the bookmakers that Nuits St Georges would be significantly involved.
However, he vastly outran odds of 80-1 to be beaten under four lengths into third – having led a typically competitive field of 23 into the final furlong.
As then, Nuits St Georges’ recent form appeared to be tailing off after two early-summer victories, but Menuisier has taken note, and once again ensured a good break, of almost two months this time, to bring him to Doncaster fresh on Saturday.
The Sussex trainer is therefore cautiously optimistic that the six-year-old may deliver again – and that Flyin’ Solo could also prove a threat to all, off a low weight.
“If they both get in they’ll both run,” he said.
“Nuits St Georges ran really well in the race last year, but it looks like the ground conditions are going to be different this year.
“Last year it was a bog, and I think it will be quicker this time – probably good to soft, which is fine.
“It’s his final race of the season, and he owes nothing to anybody.”
Nuits St Georges must contend with a 6lb higher rating this time round.
Menuisier added: “He’ll run his race. These days, I find he’s got a bit more speed than he used to, so that’s why I tend to not run him over two miles any more.
“I’ve freshened him up (again). I did it last year – after October (at Saint-Cloud), he had five weeks before this next outing.
“I’ve kind of done the same. He was in last week somewhere, but I decided against it to have him fresh.
“Off his mark, realistically it will be a bit difficult. But I said the same last year, off 88 – let’s hope he proves me wrong again.”
Flyin’ Solo is back off a longer break, having injured himself when a beaten favourite in mid-July.
Menuisier said: “He did sustain a little injury when he ran at Newbury that day, and we gave him time to recover – and we also gelded him.
“I think he’s an exciting horse, and off a low weight, I’m looking forward to seeing him run.
“I think he goes on any ground. That wouldn’t worry me one way or the other.”