Connections of Crystal Ocean are in confident mood ahead of the final Classic of the season, the St Leger Stakes, at Doncaster on Saturday.
The son of Sea The Stars has been in impressive form over recent months after following up third-place finishes in the Dante at York and the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot with victory in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood last time out.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt particularly impressed on soft ground at Goodwood but the trainer’s assistant, James Horton, insists they are hoping for firmer conditions ahead of this weekend’s race.
Horton said: “We were very pleased with Goodwood and we’re very pleased with where he is now.
He’s still a big, weak, frame of a horse who we think is going to be a better horse next year.
“He won on soft ground at Goodwood but stepping up against a better class of opposition, the better the ground, the better for him.”
Crystal Ocean is priced at 4.50 to win Saturday’s race and is likely to face a severe test of his credentials, not least from Irish Derby hero Capri, who is expected to be Aidan O’Brien’s number one contender at Doncaster.
The John Gosden-trained Stradivarius is also expected to challenge for overall glory, as is Defoe, who has won on his last four starts for trainer Roger Varian.