Jack Hobbs: receives 2lb from Simple Verse in a classy renewalPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Classic heroes Hobbs and Verse set for duel
Preview: 3.05 Newmarket, Saturday
Dunaden At Overbury Jockey Club Stakes (Group 2), 1m4f, 4yo+
AN ARC trial on the last day of April? Plenty will be happening between today and Europe's richest race but connections of Jack Hobbs and Simple Verse would dearly love to end up at Chantilly on the first Sunday in October.
The presence of last year's Irish Derby winner and St Leger heroine has injected some star quality into this Group 2, which carries a prize fund of £100,000.
Bookmakers favour Jack Hobbs at 1-2, but he would be giving 11-2 chance Simple Verse 3lb in the Arc and not, like today, receiving 2lb.
Hobbs 'in top form'
Jack Hobbs pleased connections with a racecourse gallop on the Rowley Mile earlier in the month, with trainer John Gosden reporting the Derby second to be "a lot stronger" this campaign.
Gosden said: "He's done very well through the winter and put on 40kg. He's a lot stronger through his neck and shoulders now, although he's never going to be a heavy horse - his father wasn't.
"He's in top form and we're very happy with what he has done at home, although the run will bring him on."
Verse heading to Epsom
The Coronation Cup at Epsom is the short-term target for Simple Verse with Ralph Beckett hoping this contest will "set her up" for the Group 1 contest on the Downs, though he did bemoan the conditions of the race.
Beckett said: "She's in very good form but has to give weight away. I don't understand why fillies get only 3lb at Pattern level when in other weight-for-age races they get 5lb. The track and ground will suit her and hopefully this will set her up for the Coronation Cup."
Of the others, Michael Bell's Big Orange has fitness on his side following a recent second to Vazirabad in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan and is likely to make it a stamina test from the front, while Sir Michael Stoute's Exosphere tries the trip for the first time and remains unexposed.