By Andy Stephens
The new turf Flat season has stalled since the Lincoln at the end of last month - not helped by several meetings being washed away - but it will click into turbo this week with the bet365 Craven meeting being followed by the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend at Newbury.
Here are five things to look out for at Headquarters over the next three days.
Cracksman to be put through paces:
Make sure you arrive early for day one of the Craven meeting, on Tuesday, because Cracksman will be having a racecourse gallop at 12.40pm.
And ten minutes later another exciting son of Frankel, the unbeaten Elarqam, will also have a workout on the track ahead of his tilt at the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on May 5.
Cracksman signed off last term with a runaway win in the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot and ended the campaign with an official rating of 130 - making him the highest-rated three-year-old in the world.
Gosden has the Prix Ganay at ParisLongchamp on Sunday week in mind as a starting point for his season but he is also engaged in the Dunaden Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket six days later.
Racecourse workouts always divide racing fans and it is never easy to gauge whether you are watching something scintillating, lacklustre or somewhere between.
If nothing else, they provide racegoers with an extra opportunity to see stars in the flesh and that can be no bad thing.
Aidan O’Brien seeking fresh triumphs:Kew Gardens seeks to give O'Brien a first win in the Feilden Stakes (PA)
Aidan O’Brien does not usually have many runners at the Craven meeting but he is sending an interesting raiding party this time around.
The champion trainer has never won the the bet365 Feilden Stakes, bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes or Lanwade Stud Nell Gwynn Stakes but might win them all.
He runs Kew Gardens, a possible Investec Derby possible, in the Feilden Stakes on Tuesday and on the same card will be represented by Van Beethoven, an unraced son of Scat Daddy, in the novice event for two-year-olds.
On Wednesday he has declared Deauville for the Earl Of Sefton Stakes and then, later on the card, Dramatically will represent him in the Nell Gwyn.
And on the final day he might have a first win in the Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes to celebrate as he has three possibles to juggle.
Roaring Lion puts credentials on the line:
Is this going to be the year of the cat?
Just five days after Tiger Roll’s triumph in the Grand National, Roaring Lion will put his QIPCO 2000 Guineas on the line in the bet365 Craven Stakes.
There was a time when the mile contest was the pivotal trial for the first Classic of the season but the last to do the double was Haafhd in 2004.
Roaring Lion looked unfortunate not to beat Saxon Warrior in the Group One Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in the autumn, having previously beaten Nelson (already a good winner this term) in the Royal Lodge at Headquarters.
John Gosden’s colt, owned by the sponsors of the Guineas, is a general 4-7 to resume with a win and could find himself favourite for the Guineas with a decisive display. Betfair and Paddy Power make him 7-1 in a market headed by Gustav Klimt at 4-1.
Gosden has yet to win a 2000 Guineas - Kingman’s narrow defeat in 2014 being one that famously got away.
A five-timer for Frankie?:
The Lanwade Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes can often look a puzzle to solve but there has been a simple solution in recent years: just back whatever Frankie Dettori is riding.
Remarkably, Dettori has ridden the winner of the past four renewals at odds of 7-2, 5-4, 4-1 and 12-1. That’s a 657-1 accumulator.
He will seek to extend his winning sequence aboard the Charlie Hills-trained Juliet Foxtrot, quoted at a general 16-1.
She won a minor event at Goodwood in convincing style last year before finishing fifth to Ellthea in a better contest at Naas.
Juliet Foxtrot will need to raise her game but her trainer could hardly be in better form, with four of his past six runners winning.
Fabre opts for pace angle:
Serial French champion trainer Andre Fabre is one of the world’s great trainers but in the past three seasons only three of the 21 horses he has run in Britain have been successful.
He came up with one of the quotes of the season at Newmarket last season after Al Wukair had finished third in the 2000 Guineas, having raced wide and been given quite a bit to do. Asked for his thoughts, Fabre gave a two-word summary: “It’s over”.
It could be that he has a bit more to say after the Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes on Thursday because he is set to run Le Brivido, taking winner of the Jersey Stakes after being pipped by Brametot in the French 2000 Guineas.
Le Brivido will be having his first run since that Royal Ascot win and it is a surprise to see him dropping back to sprinting. But there is no denying his ability and he is the general 5-2 favourite.