JASON Watson is back from an enforced holiday and has his sights on one of the biggest prizes of the season.
The top jock will take his first rides this week since August 1 following a suspension – and he returns in time for the ride on Aspetar in next week's Juddmonte International.
The improving five-year-old bagged a Group 1 in Germany last summer, but he has arguably taken his form to a new level this term.
He was an eye-catching second in a deep Listed race at Sandown on reappearance and went one better with an emphatic victory in the York Stakes last month.
That Group 2 is over the same course and distance as the Juddmonte, where the likes of Ghaiyyath and Kameko lie in wait, and his rider has warned punters not to underestimate him – with Paddy Power making him a 14s chance.
Watson said: "It's not ideal having to sit out for 10 days in the middle of the season, I had a seven and three-day ban so I decided to take it all in one hit – but Aspetar is a great ride to come back to.
"He has proven he likes the track and he has proven himself against some proper horses. He put the race to bed impressively last time and he seems to have come on a lot this year.
"It looked a very strong race on paper, there were some Group 1 horses in there and it looked a tough task and that he would need to step up.
"But he travelled through the race like a dream and he was comfortably the best horse on the day.
"I like to think he will run a very big race. It will be hot with Ghaiyyath and a few others in there, but you expect it for a Group 1 of this calibre.
"He's earned a shot at a race like this and it's all systems go."
However, plans for top three-year-old Quadrilateral remain on ice. The Group 1-winning filly has finished third in both the 1000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes this term, but Watson hasn't lost faith.
He said: "A target for her hasn't be decided yet. We are really happy with her, though. The little bit of time she has had off since Ascot has done her the world of good. She looks great.
"She's a top-class filly and certainly the best I've had the privilege of riding. We haven't seen the best of her yet, her day will come."
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