The John Dunlop trained Elusive Pimpernel, one of last seasons top juveniles, staked his claim as a leading contender for the StanJames.com 2000 Guineas with an impressive victory in Newmarket's Racing Post breezeupbonus.com Craven Stakes.
Settled in midfield, the Elusive Quality colt was briefly outpaced when the tempo quickened three furlong from home, but once hitting the rising ground Elusive Pimpernel soon put daylight between himself and the opposition, coming home by a long looking 4 length.
Ridden in the 1m contest by champion jockey Ryan Moore,due to the suspension of regular pilot Eddie Ahern, the 10/11 favourite was runner-up behind St Nicholas Abbey in Doncaster's Racing Post Trophy last October and is likely to renew rivalry with that horse on Saturday 1st May.
Trainer John Dunlop was very impressed stating " I didn't think he was under pressure but he does come off the bridle and he picked up extremely well."
Ryan Moore was also taken by the performance claiming " He travelled like the best horse in the race and once he got out he was always going to gallop past them."
As short as 5/1 with the sponsor, Elusive Pimpernel is now a general 6/1 shot for the StanJames.com 2000 Guineas behind St Nicholas Abbey and Canford Cliffs.
St Nicholas Abbey is likely to go straight for the classic whereas Canford Cliffs will contest Newbury's Bathwick Tyres Greenham Stakes on Saturday.