William Haggas' unbeaten Baaeed is bad to the bone and the one to beat in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, May 14 says jockey Jim Crowley.
In a fine renewal of the race first run in 1958, Baaeed will be part of a stellar group of nine going for Group 1 glory.
The Shadwell-owned four-year-old has progressed from taking a Leicester maiden to turning over Palace Pier in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in a frighteningly good trajectory.
"I was extremely happy with Baaeed at Chelmsford and I'm really looking forward to riding him again at Newbury. Horses like him don't come around very often," said Crowley.
"He's up against two good fillies who are match fit (Alcohol Free and Mother Earth) as well as Real World, but he was a revelation last year.
"Palace Pier was an exceptional horse, so what Baaeed did on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot was excellent, especially when you remember he hadn't been on a racecourse until June.
"Hopefully he's progressed again, although he probably wouldn't need to have progressed too much on the figures."
Last year's 1000 Guineas winner Mother Earth follows in the market with Aidan O'Brien hoping his four-year-old filly can do the business against the big boys. Mother Earth has one advantage over Baaeed in that she has had a run already this season, winning a Group 3 at the Curragh whilst Baaeed makes his reappearance.
Alcohol Free rates as another filly with class, who despite her name will hope to put in a Champagne performance in the Lockinge for Andrew Balding.
Saeed Bin Suroor's Real World, meanwhile, has plenty of turf form but blotted his copybook with weak showings on the dirt in the Saudi Cup and the Dubai World Cup
New Mandate is a reasonable outsider for Ralph Beckett who won the Paradise Stakes at Ascot last time out and isn't without a squeak in the Lockinge.
John and Thady Gosden's Sunray Major has the benefit of Frankie Dettori on his back but will have to do a lot better than a last time out fifth in the bet365 Mile at Sandown. Gosden won the race last year, of course, with Palace Pier so knows exactly what is needed on the Knavesmire.
Richard Hannon is another with winning experience in the race, taking a pair of Lockinges in 2014 and 2015 in a race his father also did well in. Hannon Jnr sends Chindit and Etonian with both requiring a step up to take a competitive race.