Charlie Fellowes believes Ejtilaab is at the top of his game ahead of the £150,000 Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships (2.35pm) at Newcastle on Finals Day, April 15.
Ejtilaab sets the standard among the 20 entries with an official rating of 112 after dominating from the front in a class two handicap at Kempton Park on March 26.
The six-year-old, who was successful at Newcastle’s Northumberland Plate Festival last year on his final start for Ian Williams, started 2022 with three good efforts at Meydan, including a third on dirt in the G3 Mahab Al Shimaal.
Fellowes said: “Ejtilaab has been in really good nick and this race has been the plan since he returned from Dubai. He worked on Friday on the grass and looked fantastic.
“I think he has a lot going for him; he has won over the course and distance, he is the highest-rated horse in the race, and he is coming in on the back of a career-best performance.
“His trip out to Dubai seems to have made a man of him and those runs on the dirt in particular have taught him how to sprint properly. They go so hard from the start that, if you don’t get out and get your legs moving, you are stuck in behind facing the kickback, which makes it very difficult.
“I guess he could have gone the other way and hated it but thankfully it has brought him on. I think that was borne out in his performance at Kempton when he bossed the race from start to finish.
“I thought the manner of his win at Kempton was outstanding, especially under top weight, and if he can replicate that level of performance at Newcastle, he is going to take a bit of beating.
“There is a lot to look forward to later in the year as well, as I think he will be just as good on turf with some cut in the ground.”
Fellowes has yet to train a winner on Finals Day, with 2018 All-Weather Fillies’ & Mares’ Championships runner-up Carolinae faring best of his six runners.