Caspar Fownes is facing up to one of the hardest tasks in racing - defending a trainer's premiership title - but believes he has the quality and numbers of ammunition to get the job done. Fownes celebrated his 40th birthday in Las Vegas during the break and has come back raring to get on with the new season, proving that his title triumph in 2006-07 was no one-off event. 'It's always tough coming off a premiership season, but I'm confident of another good year,' Fownes said. 'On face value, it looks as though John Size has geared himself up strongly and it could be his season, so he'll be very hard to beat, but the main thing for me is to keep on doing what I've been doing, and I hope I can always finish in the top three and prove that I am a good trainer.' Fownes said that although a number of his major contributors last season might have reached their peaks in the ratings, he has some promising young horses ready to come through. 'During the break we have replaced a few of the older ones and have a few more to go after the first few months of the season,' Fownes said. 'There are some horses there that are still reasonably graded on their better form, and I'll have them very forward in condition so they can hopefully win early in the season and then maybe call it quits with them. That's the plan anyway.' Among his established horses, Fownes is playing a waiting game with veteran miler The Duke but is bullish about Green Birdie being a ready-made replacement at the top level. The Duke gave Fownes his first Group One in last year's HK$16 million Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile but his season petered our with a failure in Japan's premier mile, the Yasuda Kinen, on June 3. 'The Duke has come back nicely but, let's face it, he's not getting any younger and his owner [Eddie Yau Jnr] has left everything completely up to me,' he said. 'We'll bring him back on October 1 and head him for the Mile Trial once again. If he goes well enough there, we'll have another crack at the Hong Kong Mile. He's always been a very transparent horse - when he works and trials well, he races well. 'As far as Green Birdie is concerned, I'm very excited about him - I think he's going to make into a serious horse. 'He could win at anywhere between 1,200 metres and a mile, and I think he'll end up a 120 [rating] horse, or somewhere around that mark.' Asked to nominate some horses in the lower grades that could provide the stable with a premiership foundation of multiple wins, Fownes pinpointed two - Yankee and Super Goal Master. 'Yankee only had a couple of runs and wasn't quite right, but has come back a significantly better horse,' Fownes said. 'Super Goal Master has always shown a lot of ability but I think with a bit of maturity he'll really start to put it all together. He's the sort of horse who could go to Class Two [currently in Class Four].'