Trainer Simon Miller is super confident that Valour Road can make an early statement when he commences his latest campaign at Ascot on Saturday.
Valour Road is on a path to the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in November and can hit the ground running in the Listed Crawford Stakes (1000m).
The multiple stakes winner lines up against a strong field of 10 rivals and is gaining support from punters, firming to $5 after he opened at $6 with Tabtouch.
Indian Pacific ($3.50), Stageman ($4.80), and Laverrod are also in single figures.
Miller said Valour Road, racing first-up since February, was displaying the same positive signs that saw him claim a feature victory in Adelaide last year.
Posting his second Group 2 victory after the Karrakatta Plate (1200m) as a two-year-old, Valour Road took out the Euclase Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville.
Valour Road proved too good for Tofane and Gytrash, who alongside Behemoth, finishing seventh, are contenders in The Everest at Randwick on Saturday.
Valour Road, a winner in three of five first-up starts, warmed up for his return with a soft trial win.
Miller is bullish the Frost Giant gelding can make a successful return.
“I’m excited by him tomorrow (Saturday),” Miller told Tabradio.
“The 1000m might be a tad short, but I haven’t got him going this good since Adelaide.
“His action is smooth and the trial reflected the way he is going.
“His work at home has been exceptional and is back to his good old days.
“I didn’t like his autumn campaign, but we are clearly reaping the rewards now.
“I think I’ve got him going better than when he went to Adelaide.
“Where it equates over a 1000m we’ll see, but it maps good.
“He will be afforded every opportunity and he is worth a bet at that price.”
Valour Road has drawn barrier five with Chris Parnham in the saddle.
The form jockey is chasing back-to-back Crawford wins and his third overall after guiding Dainty Tess (2019) and Malibu Style (2017).
Flower Of War will join stable mate Valour Road in the Crawford Stakes, but the on-pace speedster has the job ahead of her from gate 10 and at the journey.
“I will let the speed go and from that gate she can curl up and hop in the three-wide lane,” Miller said.
Miller will also saddle up First Law, Boomtastic, Niccovi and Dance Music in the Group 3 Northerly Stakes (1400m).
Dance Music is coming off a last-start third to Stageman in the Black Heart Bart Stakes (1200m), beaten two lengths.
“I’m testing her at this level and she is going really good,” Miller said.
“But she would want to be on her game because it’s a good race.”
Dance Music will jump from barrier seven with Chloe Azzopardi reclaiming the mount.
The War Chant mare is a $13 chance.
Miller said he expects Niccovi to run a bold race in the Crown Towers Handicap (1000m), but first-up after a long break she may need the run.
The Niccovi mare is on the third line at $4.60 behind Battle Storm ($3.50) and Condor Heroes ($3.80).