John Gosden insists Without Parole still has a bit to prove as he puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Matchbook Is Commission Free Heron Stakes at Sandown on Thursday.
He was briefly in the 2000 Guineas picture after bolting up at Yarmouth, but a late setback ruled him out of the Classic.
“He has got a bit to prove, he won a nice novice at Yarmouth but he then bruised his foot and it was pretty nasty,” said Gosden. “That kept him off for a few days because he had an abscess with it.
“He’s a grand horse but he’s only had two runs in his life, he’ll be learning a lot.
“This horse is on an upward curve, he’s nowhere near where he’s going to be, so whether he shines (at Sandown) or learns more, I don’t know.
“He’s well entered and we have options over a mile and 10 furlongs.”
Among his eight rivals is David Menuisier’s Vintager, an impressive winner on his debut last season and not disgraced in good races since.
“He’s in very good form and has improved for his first run,” said Menuisier.
“That was a really good effort against a horse who ran really well in the Dante (Merlin Magic) and we were giving him a lot of weight.
“The ground is a little bit of an unknown, but there are thunderstorms forecast. Either way, worst case scenario is it will be lovely ground because it always is at Sandown.”
Mark Johnston’s Dream Today and Sir Michael Stoute’s Gabr are others with classy form to their name.
Also on the card is the Listed Matchbook-sponsored National Stakes.
Nine speedy juveniles will line up, with Richard Hannon’s Chester winner Wedding Date and Clive Cox’s Koncheck among the fancied runners.
Michael Bell runs Artair, third on debut to Blown By Wind, whom he meets again. and a winner last time out from Usain Boat who has won since.
“The formlines are all solid and this looks the right race for him,” said Bell.
“He’s got a good draw (two), luckily, which can be significant at Sandown.
“Both his races to date have been on soft ground. While I don’t think he’ll ever want it rattling fast, on rising ground like it is at Sandown, he’ll be fine.”