A top-class two-year-old last season, Little Big Bear followed up a narrow defeat on debut with four straight victories.
Amongst his winning run was a triumph at Royal Ascot, while he completed his juvenile campaign with a wide-margin success in the Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.
Things did not go to plan when upped to a mile for the 2000 Guineas on reappearance, but he is now returned to six furlongs on Merseyside.
Whereas Little Big Bear competed in the colts’ Classic at Newmarket, Matilda Picotte gave a fine account in the fillies’ equivalent and Kieran Cotter now drops his speedy daughter of Sioux Nation back in trip following her 1000 Guineas third.
Karl Burke won this race last year and relies on Cold Case this time around having accounted for the reopposing 2022 Coventry Stakes winner Bradsell at Ascot earlier this month.
George Boughey’s Al Dasim returns to UK soil following a prolific spring at Meydan, with Royal Ascot winner The Ridler, Richard Hannon’s Shouldvebeenaring and the returning Mill Stream also involved.
A field of 14 has assembled for the Betfred Temple Stakes which is the other Group Two on the card.
Henry Candy’s Twilight Calls was beaten a head in this contest 12 months ago and will be partnered by Connor Beasley for the first time, but has to improve on his Newmarket reappearance in the Palace House Stakes.
Adam West’s Live In The Dream and Mick Appleby’s Raasel finished second and fourth respectively on that occasion, with the latter bringing track and trip form to the table.
However, most of the excitement for this race is generated by the return of The Platinum Queen following her exploits at two.
The Prix de l’Abbaye champion will make her first start for new handler Roger Varian, with usual pilot Hollie Doyle once again in the saddle.
Dramatised is another Group-level winning two-year-old reappearing in the five-furlong event, with James Tate’s Royal Aclaim and recent Bath scorer Happy Romance others to note in a contest possessing plenty of depth.
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