John Oxx admits even he's in the dark over Born To Sea ahead of his run in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday.
A half-brother to the brilliant Sea The Stars, the son of Invincible Spirit made a winning debut in the Listed Blenheim Stakes at the Curragh before injuring himself when second to Nephrite on his only subsequent start at Leopardstown.
Christopher Tsui's colt will be making his reappearance in this weekend's Classic but his trainer is pleased with his preparation.
"Everything has gone very well with him and he's had a trouble free run. He's enjoyed a good winter, hasn't missed any time at all since mid December and he's as fit as we can have him for his first run," he told sportinglife.com.
"It's always a toughish preparation to get a horse ready for a Classic at the beginning of May without giving them a prep race but we decided against a trial run. He's not experienced but is a pretty sharp sort of horse and doesn't seem to be very green. He's as fit as we can get him and we think he's pretty ready."
The ground at Newmarket had dried out to good to soft on Wednesday but with more rain forecast overnight, could ease further before the weekend. The trainer though thinks Born To Sea will cope.
"He's fairly adaptable ground wise, but he's a horse who's unproven and we don't know an awful lot about him yet. He's won over six furlongs so I suppose I'd have preferred fast ground rather than slow ground because he has to get the mile. We'd prefer it wasn't a real slog but will have to take whatever comes."
One thing Oxx is certain of is that Born To Sea won't follow in Sea The Stars' hoofprints by stepping up to a mile-and-a-half as the season progresses.
"We don't look on him as a stayer. You don't see many of Invincible Spirit's stock winning races at longer than a mile or ten furlongs. I don't think you've ever seen a good winner by him over a mile-and-a-half. We look on him as a miler but to start the year off we'd have preferred a mile on better ground just to make sure he had a better chance of getting the trip. Long term I don't think a mile will be a problem."
Despite that, the trainer does see some similarities between the three-year-old and his illustrious half-brother.
"He has some. He's the same colour, no white, a bay with black points. He's well grown, 16.1, he has his brother's lovely walk and athleticism and has a lot of his energy. They both needed plenty of work to keep them settled and quiet, to burn off the energy so to speak but he's a bit more like Invicinble Spirit.
"He's shorter and looks more a sprinter or miler than Sea The Stars who had great length about him. It remains to be seen how much of his ability he has."
And that will remain the case until after Saturday's race.
"We don't know how good he is. He's an idle home worker and while he does enough, he does no more than he has to. Its difficult to weigh him up - and on his form as he was injured on his second start and we didn't get any feel for him.
"We don't know what we have. We know he's a smart horse and has some of his brother's ability alright. We think he's capable of running a decent race but we don't actually know how good he is. We'll have to wait for the race to unfold to get some answers.
"It looks a good 2000 Guineas, all the best horses are there, everyone is taking Camelot on. It will be very competitive and whatever wins will be a very good horse."