Max Dynamite bids to claim an overdue big-race success in the Qatar Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp on Saturday.
The eight-year-old has been a fine servant to Willie Mullins and his prominent owner Rich Ricci, most notably finishing a close second in the 2015 Melbourne Cup before returning to Flemington to finish third last November.
He has also finished second in the Northumberland Plate, the Galway Hurdle and, most recently, last month’s Doncaster Cup, but he has found victories hard to come by.
Since making a successful debut for Mullins in a Thurles maiden hurdle almost four years ago, Max Dynamite has won just twice, landing the 2015 Lonsdale Cup at York under Frankie Dettori and a minor conditions race at Killarney last year in the hands of the trainer’s son, Patrick.
Mullins junior, assistant to his father, said: “He returned to form to finish second to Thomas Hobson in Doncaster the last day, so that was good, and we’ve been happy with at home since.
“The trip should suit him and it looks like the ground is going to be good and I think that’s quite important to him at this stage of his career.
“He’s been competing a high level for a long time and has run some fantastic races in defeat.
“Hopefully he can go there and pick up some more prize-money this weekend.”
Max Dynamite faces seven rivals in the two-and-a-half-mile Group One, with Andrew Balding’s Montaly the sole British-trained challenger.
The first Pattern race on offer on the card is the Qatar Prix Chaudenay, in which the Charlie Appleby-trained Brundtland will be expected to play a starring role.
The son of Dubawi claimed his third win from as many starts in the Prix Niel three weeks ago and steps up from a mile and a half to best part of two miles for this Group Two assignment.
Appleby said: “Brundtland is three from there and goes there in good order.
“He’s not exciting to watch, but he gets the job done and he’s done everything that’s been asked of him so far.
“The step up in trip will help him and I’d say he’s probably our best chance of the weekend.”
There is a strong British representation in the Qatar Prix Dollar, with Appleby’s Loxley, Harry Dunlop’s Knight To Behold and Michael Bell’s Fabricate – who carries the colours of the Queen – all featuring among nine declared runners.
Knight To Behold disappointed in the Investec Derby at Epsom and the Irish Derby during the summer, but bounced back to win the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano at Deauville on his latest appearance.
“We were delighted with his run back over 10 furlongs at Deauville and the Prix Dollar has been a target for a while,” said Dunlop.
“He seems in good form and it’s great that Oisin (Murphy) is available to ride him as he knows the horse well.
“I’m very happy with him and would hope he’ll run very well.”
Dunlop sends his other stable star Robin Of Navan into battle in the Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein.
The five-year-old has done much of his racing in France, most recently filling the runner-up spot in a Group Three at Maisons-Laffitte.
Dunlop added: “It was a super run the other day and we’ve been delighted with him since.
“This is a tough race, but he deserves to take his chance and if it is dry-ish ground that will suit him.
“Despite having run in France many times, he’s never actually run at Longchamp.”
Appleby’s Deauville Group Three winner Glorious Journey, the William Haggas-trained Addeybb and Simon Crisford’s Ostilio are also in the mix.
The final Group Two of the day is the Qatar Prix de Royallieu.
Gavin Cromwell’s ultra-consistent Irish raider Princess Yaiza takes on five home-trained runners in this mile-and-a-half contest.