Trainer Adam Durrant says the key to Illuminated winning his first stakes race will rest on how well jockey, William Pike, can get him to settle in the race.
Durrant has minor concerns that a lack of perceived pace in the Listed Ascot Gold Cup (1800m) could bring Illuminated undone in the $100,000 feature.
The 11-horse field is made up of several strong backmarkers with Kirov Boy and Kalgoorlie Cup hero, Woodsville, left to ensure there is race tempo.
Durrant is hopeful Pike can adopt a change of tactics on Illuminated after the four-year-old charged forward to lead in two of his past three wins.
At Belmont he blitzed his rivals by 5 ¼ lengths before just having enough in hand to ward off Night Prowler when stepping up to 1800m at Ascot.
“I’m just really concerned trying to wrestle with this big horse,” said Durrant on TABradio.
“I have a feeling he needs to roll and is one of those high cruising type horses.
“Bob (Peters) will have his riding instructions, but ultimately it will be up to Willie because he is such a monster of a horse who is about 17 hands and has a massive stride.
“It’s going to be hard to hold him down behind some of those horses he is up against.
“Hopefully the top weight (Kirov Boy) comes out running and we can maybe slot in behind him, but that will be the interesting part.
“If he can go through his gears and relax nicely he will take a heck of a lot of beating.
“It’s not an overly strong race and it’s a nice progression and stepping stone for him.”
Illuminated, who can give Durrant a third Ascot Gold Cup, has drawn barrier six.
The son of Medaglia D’Oro is a firm $2.10 favourite with the TAB.
Young Lionel ($4.40), Dark Musket ($7.50) and Raising Dubai ($7.50) are the other starters under double figures.
Meanwhile Durrant believes stable mate The Forgotten One, who ran a close third to Illuminated and Night Prowler last start, would only have one major rival to contend with in the Perth Racing #Ascothappens Handicap (2200m).
“On his work Tuesday they don’t get beaten,” said Durrant.
“I go into the race confident, but there is one it that worries me.
“I’m pretty confident I have the field covered except for Tonto.
“His run was outstanding last start and he is above average.
“I’ve got no doubt my guy and Tonto can go through to open company.”
The Forgotten One ($2.90), to be ridden by Peter Knuckey from gate three, holds narrow favouritism over Tonto ($3.20).
RWWA: Julio Santarelli