Lord Glitters bids to take his career tally of victories into double figures at Haydock on Saturday.
David O’Meara’s stable stalwart enjoyed Group One success in Dubai earlier in the year and has finished fourth in both the Lockinge at Newbury and the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot since returning to Britain.
He had to make do with the runner-up spot on his most recent appearance in the Strensall Stakes at York when conceding 7lb to Saeed bin Suroor’s smart Real World – and hopes are high the seven-year-old can go one better in Group Three company on Merseyside.
“He ran very well at York a couple of weeks ago, giving his Group One penalty away. That’s come off now, which should give him a good chance really,” said O’Meara.
“He’s in good form and his holding his form well.
“The ground should OK. He was running out in Dubai on quick ground during the winter, so hopefully it will be fine.”
The biggest threat to Lord Glitters on ratings is the William Haggas-trained My Oberon, who is fitted with blinkers for the first time.
Mark Johnston’s Maydanny, who won the Unibet Goodwood Mile before finishing seventh in another valuable handicap at York last month, tests the water at Pattern level for the first time.
Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell Estate, said: “Mark elected to keep him handicap company the other day at York, having won well at Goodwood.
“They went an ordinary pace and he was outpaced when they quickened and stayed on as if he wants to go further now.
“I did ask whether we should look at a mile-and-a-quarter race, but the team felt it was going to be a small field in this race and he deserves his chance in Pattern company.
“I’m not going to say he’s going to go and win it, but he thoroughly deserves his chance.”
Saturday’s card gets under way with the Listed Betfair Exchange Ascendant Stakes, which sees Charlie Appleby’s Hafit bidding to make it two wins from two starts.
The Dubawi colt was bought for 2.1million guineas as a yearling and made a successful start to his career at Newmarket last month – and with both the second and third home winning since, he will be a hot favourite to follow up.
Hugo Palmer’s Power Of Beauty, Kevin Ryan’s Triple Time and Dukebox from Richard Hannon’s yard also bring winning form to the table in what promises to be an informative contest.
Hat-trick seekers Valley Forge (Andrew Balding) and Vino Victrix (Hughie Morrison) do battle in the £100,000 “My Odds Boost” On Betfair Handicap, while a typically competitive field will go to post for the £80,000 Betfair Exchange Old Borough Cup.
One of the leading contenders for the one-mile-six-furlong contest is Noble Masquerade, who has won two of his last three starts for trainer Eve Johnson Houghton.
She said: “We’re very hopeful. He seems in good form, his form is really good and he’s got in off a really low weight (8st 2lb).
“He hasn’t really surprised us. He’s always had the ability and has just had niggly issues with growing pains and things like that – he’s taken a bit of time to find himself.
“This year he has just improved and improved after being given a bit of time, so fingers crossed he’ll go really well.”