Sole Power will need to exact revenge on his Prix de l'Abbaye conqueror Tangerine Trees if he is to complete successive victories in the Temple Stakes at Haydock today.
At Longchamp in October, Tangerine Trees made all for a first Group One triumph, but Sole Power didn't get the clearest of runs and looked desperately unlucky as they flashed by the post. In the end, Eddie Lynam's five-year-old came up short by a head.
This year, he has continued to perform well, twice finishing second in good sprints at Meydan in March, latterly finding only an in-form Ortensia too strong in a Group One.
Monsieur Joe, fourth then and on duty again here, has since shown the form in a good light by failing by just a short head in a decent race at Longchamp recently.
Now that Sole Power is in receipt of four pounds from Tangerine Trees -- and with congestion less of an issue for hold-up horses at Haydock than it tends to be in the French capital -- odds of 7/2 about him look generous.
Five furlongs on fast ground are well established as his optimum conditions, and this is a weaker renewal than last year's race, when he had Kingsgate Native, Prohibit and Overdose all in arrears.
With Tangerine Trees expected to find life difficult under his penalty in the Group Two, Sole Power's main dangers could come from elsewhere.
The Norfolk winner Bapak Chinta is one that might outrun double-figure odds on his return, but Bated Breath is the horse likely to give the selection most to worry about.
A typically consistent Roger Charlton-trained sprinter, the Dansili five-year-old raced exclusively in Group Ones in 2011, finishing second to Dream Ahead in the July and Sprint Cups, as well as in a Canadian contest. However, in 14 starts, he has run just once over this trip, failing to land a blow on slow ground in last year's Nunthorpe.
Granted, quicker going today may see him in a better light, but he is short enough at the head of the market given that he is unproven in such quick conditions. Sole Power, on the other hand, will relish a genuine speed test, so he represents a solid value option under the dual British champion jockey Paul Hanagan.
In the card's big handicap, the Betfred Silver Bowl, Hanagan has a chance on the unexposed Mabaany for William Haggas. Equally open to improvement, though, is Forest Row, which made a fine impression on its Newbury reappearance last month.
Clive Cox's three-year-old, a half-brother to the dual Group One winner Presvis, accelerated clear over today's mile trip that day. While it wasn't a particularly strong maiden, he showed that he had progressed nicely from his two runs last term.
Given his pedigree and the nature of that Newbury rout, Forest Row has all the making of a stakes class horse. With that in mind, a first-time rating of 88 for 8st 12lb makes the Pat Cosgrave-ridden gelding appeal at up to 12/1.
At Goodwood, Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore are the partnership to keep on side. Sea Moon, second to St Nicholas Abbey at the Breeders' Cup, should have little trouble justifying short odds in the 12-furlong Listed race, with Opinion and Fiorente possibly more attractive betting propositions in their respective targets.
Opinion tackles seven others in what is a competitive nine-furlong handicap. Well held in two starts last term, the Oasis Dream colt progressed for the step up to a similar trip on his seasonal debut when running out a two-length winner at Windsor.
His stablemate Rye House, fourth then, has gone and complemented the form by winning at the same course recently, so it would be no surprise to see Opinion collect off a rating of 85 here.
In the Listed race over the same trip, Fiorente needs to leave behind a below-par reappearance, but he showed potential in Group company last year and the prevailing fast ground could be key to him fulfilling that promise now.
Best Bet: Sole Power