FOREST RANGER bids to land the biggest prize of his career in the Coral-Eclipse on Saturday.
Richard Fahey’s progressive colt will be competing at Group 1 level for the first time in his career.
It’s been a whirlwind of a season so far for the son Lawman, who hasn’t looked back since undergoing a gelding operation.
With two wins from two starts this term, including a victory last time out in the Huxley Stakes at Chester, the talented improver has been raised to a career-high mark of 113.
Now even bigger targets await, including a first shot at the top level in the Coral-Eclipse on Saturday.
Connections admit their contender will need to improve, but jockey Tony Hamilton is confident there is more to come.
He said: “Forest Ranger has got to improve on what he’s done but he seems on an upward curve and hopefully he will give a good account of himself.”
Among the four-year-old’s rivals on Saturday is Derby winner Masar, 2,000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior, and easy Dante victor Roaring Lion, so the opposition is likely to be red hot.
And having ridden him on both starts this season, Hamilton is under no illusions as to the difficulty of the task facing his mount.
He added: “It’s going to be a tough race, and you’d be hopeful rather than confident, but it’s great to be involved.
“Chester was definitely a personal best for him. It was the first time he’s quickened like that and I thought the way he went away from the field was most impressive.
“I don’t know whether the gelding operation has had anything to with his improvement, but I doubt it. He’s a gent of a horse and no different than when he was a colt – I’d say it is more that he has just grown into his body.
“He’s a huge horse – the biggest in the yard – and is maturing. He’s just getting better with age and I think he’ll keep getting better.”
The jockey also admitted that his mount doesn’t do a lot on the gallops at home, but like all top-class horses, saves his best for the track.
He went on: “I ride him in all his work. He doesn’t do a lot at home and you just go by his well-being and demeanour.
“If you are working him with a 60- or 70-rated horse he will just go with it, but if you take him with a nice horse he’d go with that too.
“They are the ones you want – those who don’t do a lot at home but sprout wings when they get to the track.”