David Easterby, assistant trainer to his father Mick, feels Hoof It is the horse to beat in Wednesday's Duke of York totepool Stakes on the Knavesmire.
The five-year-old enjoyed a terrific campaign last summer, winning three races including a record weight carrying performance in the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood.
He was then unlucky in the Group One Sprint Cup at Haydock on his final start, proving he was up to mixing it with the best around.
Hoof It will be ridden by Ryan Moore for the first time tomorrow at the request of his owners, golfer Lee Westwood and his agent, Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler.
"He's in cracking order and he's worked three times," said Easterby.
"We've taken him over to Tim Easterby's and we've raced him on the grass at home, which was soft so he's had his toe in.
"I am slightly worried that Mayson hasn't done a thing wrong so far this year, but we're going there with probably the horse to beat.
"I think he's the best horse in the race. I think his best form will be on good to firm ground this year, but it's the same for everybody.
"We've won races with cut in the ground before and it's not that much of a worry for us.
"The ground is drying out and we've had people walk the track. We're thinking it's firmer than they're suggesting.
"Ancient Cross (stablemate) is rated nearly 100 and he went 10 lengths clear of him last Saturday, so I can't say any more than that."While Hoof It is likely to go off favourite he will face plenty of rivals who have achieved more than winning just handicaps, including Society Rock.
The five-year-old won the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes last year and followed that up with a cracking run in France when going down narrowly to Freddie Head's Moonlight Cloud in the Prix Maurice de Gheest.
His from tailed off slightly and he was last seen in Hong Kong in December where he was well beaten
"He's not one that tells you much at home, but he looks really well," said trainer James Fanshawe.
"In the past it has taken him a race or two to get into gear, but he seems well in himself and I'm looking forward to running him.
"We don't know where the best draw is going to be. We're in stall three and I'm not sure if that is a good draw or not, but it will be good to get him back on the track.
"Nowadays he doesn't mind a bit of ease in the ground - when he won the Golden Jubilee it rained at Ascot."
Champion trainer Richard Hannon is doubly represented by Libranno and Elnawin. Libranno made his reappearance this season over a mile in heavy ground and is expected to be much better suited by conditions tomorrow on his return to sprinting.
Elnawin has been off with injury since last June when he won a Listed race by eight lengths.
"It was barely raceable at Sandown, where Libranno disappointed last time, but we know that he is better than that and six furlongs suits him as well as seven," said Richard Hannon jnr on www.richardhannonracing.tv.
"Elnawin has been off with injury since he won by eight lengths at Salisbury last June, and he will probably need this comeback race."
Richard Fahey has always thought highly of Mayson and the four-year-old is now finally starting to deliver on his promise.
After finishing third behind The Cheka at Doncaster on his reappearance he was a good winner of the Abernant Stakes at the Craven meeting and he returned to Headquarters last time out.
Dropping down to five furlongs for the Palace House Stakes he showed good speed from a bad draw to win again.
"He's in great order at the moment and he knows how to win now," said Fahey.
"He's progressing the right way, he's won a Listed race, a Group Three and now he's in a Group Two.
"The ground should be fine, he goes on anything.
"He seems as effective over five furlongs or six but if I had a choice I think he's better over six.
"He's in both races at Ascot but we'll get tomorrow out of the way first."
Godolphin's Soul is an interesting contender. A smart performer in Australia, he won at the Dubai Carnival in handicap company but made no show on World Cup night in the Golden Shaheen.
"Soul won very well on his first start of the year in Dubai but then was disappointing in the Golden Shaheen on World Cup night," said Saeed bin Suroor on www.godolphin.com.
"He looks in good form at the moment and has been working nicely. The return to turf should suit him and I am looking for a better result this time."