Adam Durrant is hoping Arcadia Prince can launch his Ascot carnival campaign in the same manner as he finished his previous preparation almost a year ago.
Arcadia Prince finished with a bang in the Group 3 Scahill Stakes (1400m) last December, winning his third straight race and fourth from five starts in an almost flawless campaign.
Durrant is optimistic the Pierro gelding can make a successful return when he resumes in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Encouragingly for Durrant, Arcadia Prince boasts a top fresh record with two wins and two placings from four first-up attempts and won a trial three weeks ago.
Arcadia Prince will be ridden by William Pike and has drawn the widest barrier in the field of eight starters. He is rated a $4.80 chance with Tabtouch.
Heading the market is last year’s runner-up Achernar Star ($3.20) and last-start Group 3 Northerly Stakes (1400m) champion, The Velvet King.
Durrant, who won the Lee Steere Stakes previously with Silverstream (2017), said race fitness could be Arcadia Prince’s biggest stumbling block.
“It would have been nice to have another run under his belt or another trial,” Durrant told Tabradio.
“He’s had a couple of little setbacks with his foot, but luckily enough we have been able to keep the work up to him.
“There is nothing like race fitness and game practice.
“He is probably going in a fraction soft, but it is what it is.
“He has been basically sound since then and his work was good on Tuesday.
“He’s in good order and hopefully he can overcome it.”
Durrant also believes Star Exhibit can run a bold race in the Lee Steere Stakes without surprising.
Set for the Perth Cup (2400m) in January, he also holds solid first-up form and is poised for his return after two trial hit outs.
“He is in great order and both his trials have been good,” Durrant said.
“He is probably in a better place than he was last preparation.
“He has actually got a good fresh card this horse.
“If he can get a nice soft run and they do go hard and it’s a day they can make ground he might come into it.”
Star Exhibit will jump from barrier seven for Peter Hall.
Durrant was still tossing up whether promising three-year-old Massimo will back up from last Saturday’s win.
He rated Western Temple, who ended a long losing drought last-start, as the stable’s top pick in the Hemponics Australia Handicap (1400m).