Paul Mulrennan gears up for arguably his biggest challenge on a racecourse at Beverley on Tuesday.
With the eyes of the sporting world fixed upon the East Yorkshire circuit, the Group One-winning jockey is ready to unleash black Labrador Stella in the inaugural running of the Burgess Supadog Bark de Triomphe.
Stella, a chiselled veteran of the northern circuit, will be joined in the Bark de Triomphe line-up by housemate Peggy, a miniature Jack Russell who is trained by Mulrennan's wife, Adele.
Paul Mulrennan said: "It's obviously a high-pressure situation, but it's a nice kind of pressure. I'm sure the nerves will kick in eventually, but the team are happy and relaxed and the atmosphere in the camp is very positive. Stella and Peggy are as well as they can be without having had a run. As long as we get that all important luck in running, you'd expect both of them to show their true colours."
Adele and Paul Mulrennan are two of the 11 licensed jockeys to have made the seamless transition from riding winners to training dogs in the half-a-furlong dash to canine glory on the Westwood.
The class K9 affair for eight-month-olds and upwards will be staged in aid of Antibiotic Research UK and features two Bark Trials at 1.15pm and 1.20pm. The first three dogs home in each heat will then contest the grand final of the Bark de Triomphe at 1.25pm. With a total prize fund of unbelievable kudos and a bag of Burgess Supadog up for grabs, the stakes could barely be higher.
Paul Mulrennan added: "Both dogs are fit and well and champing at the bit. Stella is getting on a bit now, but her home-work has been good and she's experienced enough by now to handle the demands of Beverley. She's been on a diet of white fish and water to get down to her fighting weight, and I think we have her just about spot-on, in truth. Peggy, on the other hand, was born for a day like this. She's a lean, mean fighting machine with a big engine and a touch of class. Put it this way, she knows she's top dog. She might be a miniature Jack Russell, but Peggy is a Yorkshire terrier in every sense of the word in that she never knows when she's beaten. It will be a big day for the Mulrennan family, but an even bigger day for Stella and Peggy. Here's hoping they can put their best paw forward and lead by example."
The Burgess Supadog Bark de Triomphe has already raised over £3,000 for Antibiotic Research UK. Donations can be made here.
Mulrennan added: "It's a great initiative and for a really good cause. This is just something a little bit different that will hopefully catch the imagination of racegoers and punters."
The first of eight (horse) races at Beverley starts at 2pm, with the official going on Monday morning reported to be heavy.