MARTYN Meade is hoping Eminent can book his ticket to Royal Ascot when he makes his seasonal debut in the Homeserve Huxley Stakes at Chester on Friday.
The Marlborough trainer has the Prince of Wales’s Stakes next month in mind for the four-year-old – if he puts in a good performance on his return.
Eminent won the Group 3 Craven Stakes and the Group 2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano at Deauville last term but has yet to break through the Group 1 barrier.
He fell just short in 2017, finishing sixth in the 2000 Guineas, fourth in the Derby, fifth in the Eclipse and third in the Irish Champion Stakes.
Meade said: “He’s done very well. We thought it would be a nice introduction for him.
“It’s a Group Two and he doesn’t have to carry a penalty.
“I think the ground will be perfect and it should be a good one to start the season.
“We’ve got a good draw, which doesn’t usually happen. We’re drawn one so that’s good.
“He seems to be in a great place, both mentally and physically, so hopefully it will be nice run for him and set him up for the rest of the season.
“Our next plan at the moment is to go for the Prince of Wales’s, but obviously he needs to win well on Friday.
“Barring anything going wrong. I think he should perform well. When he won the Craven last year it was his first run of the season.”
Richard Fahey believes Forest Ranger deserves another chance at a mile and a quarter after the four-year-old got 2018 off to a flying start with victory in the Earl of Sefton Stakes over nine furlongs at Newmarket last month.
“It was a good, solid performance at Newmarket. He’s just up in trip and up in grade,” said Fahey.
“He wasn’t stopping at Newmarket so he’s definitely worth a go at a mile and a quarter.”
The Musley Bank handler also runs Gabrial, who has finished fourth in the last three renewals of this race, as well as finishing third in 2013.
“He’s run in this race a few times and has been placed,” said Fahey.
The six-strong field is completed by Aidan O’Brien’s War Decree, Sir Michael Stoute’s Convey and the Mark Johnston-trained Frankuus.