A rare taste of the higher grades in the Happy Valley Trophy (1,200m) tonight and John Size-trained Tour De Force will have conditions to suit him as he seeks some silverware.
The very honest six-year-old was back to his best last start in winning over 1,000m, sitting back off the speed battle before Joao Moreira brought him into the race at the right time to win with some conviction.
The switch to 1,200m holds no fears, as Tour De Force has won five times at that distance and even raced well at 1,400m late last season. And he gets the kind of set up he prefers, with some good speed to charge at late.
Likely favourite Domineer (Zac Purton) won't have things all his way, with Super Jockey, Happy Yeah Yeah, Bullish Friend and the 1,000m specialist Go Baby Go all capable of testing the front at this trip. Even if Domineer tucks in behind them, a more likely tactic, there still looks good speed in the race.
A moderate pace would have been an issue from an awkward draw for Tour De Force but a generous speed should see the field spread out and the gelding find a decent spot two wide off the pace.
He has looked at the crossroads for some time with regard to his rating and even Size said he never expected Tour De Force to get as high as he has, but that just speaks to the consistency of a horse who has been in the first four at more than two thirds of his starts.
The race might not quite be a match race but Tour De Force and Domineer look the stand out chances. Caspar Fownes-trained Domineer coasted around to win last time in Class Two when allowed to control the lead. That probably won't happen again here but with gate one he is very dangerous again, even from the box seat.