Workforce and Ryan Moore made their first semi-public appearance together since July in a racecourse gallop at Sandown which left connections satisfied ahead of a far more important date just a week and a half away.
Moore has only just returned to riding on the gallops after breaking his thumb and humerus – a bone which runs from the shoulder to the elbow – in a fall at Glorious Goodwood.
He was back in the plate on Workforce but is not likely to be in competitive action on too many occasions before the four-year-old’s attempt to retain the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on October 2.
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute took his colt to Esher exactly a year ago when he had even more questions to answer, having tarnished a scintillating Derby victory with a very laboured performance in the King George.
Workforce’s performance in Ascot’s big race was better this time around and an excuse emerged for his defeat to Nathaniel.
He returned to Stoute’s stable sore after reportedly being struck into by the ill-fated Rewilding.
The King’s Best colt had a good look at Sandown as he was walked around the paddock with his work companions Confront and Dux Scholar for about an hour before Stoute emerged to conduct his gallop.
Confront set off at a good pace from the nine-furlong (1800m) pole with Moore in second until he moved to the front with a couple of furlongs remaining.
The former champion jockey pushed his mount out with hands and heels to finish about two lengths ahead of the Group Three-placed Dux Scholar.
“That was a nice, strong piece of work on lovely ground. I’m satisfied with that,” Stoute said.
“Dux Scholar kept him honest and he’s a little bit fitter than Workforce at home.”
Asked if his charge was in about the same shape as last year, the trainer replied: “I hope so – there’s not long left.
“He was stiff behind for a few weeks (after the King George) but he’s moving well and seems in good shape.
“We didn’t want him to have a hard race in a trial, so we chose a racecourse gallop instead of a race.
“He hasn’t got too much to do, there are only 12 days to go.”
PA AAP TURF