Rivals need to be at their best to beat King Dancer - Woods
Sean Woods goes into Sunday's Group Two Jockey Club Cup undeterred by the opposition and 'very bullish' that he can turn over last year's winner Collection on the way to an international date next month.
Woods has earmarked the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase at 2,400m as King Dancer's goal on December 12, but couldn't be happier with the four-year-old stallion going to 2,000m.
'He'll harden up for it, but I'm certainly not suggesting he'll need it - he's ready and they will want to be going well to beat him. He's a proper horse and I'm very bullish,' said Woods. 'He's bigger and stronger than he was last season and he has come on mentally so that he's no longer a bull in a china shop to handle. We've purposely left him a colt because, with his pedigree, there are things we could think about with him later if he is the horse we expect him to be. I believe he will be one of the top 2,000-2,400m horses here.'
King Dancer finished fourth to Vaugirard in the Ladies' Purse on his reappearance, but it was just the preparation that Woods had preferred.
'We planned his programme in September and I was happy I was able to run him at 1,800m rather than 1,400m or 1,600m first time out. He always needs a race to bring him on and he ran well, came to do something but just blew up in the last 200m,' he said. 'Since then, everything has gone right and I wouldn't swap him for any other.'
Melbourne Cup-winning rider Gerald Mosse, who partnered King Dancer in his Derby Trial win last season and then a Derby run where the tempo came against the colt, jumps back on and the pair will launch from gate one.
'Olivier Doleuze rode him first-up, but it was always planned that Gerald would ride King Dancer again when he arrived,' Woods said. 'That might give me a jockey problem for the Vase with Americain coming, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.'