Aidan O’Brien fields three runners in his bid to claim a second successive victory in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday.
The Ballydoyle handler saddled US Navy Flag to claim the prestigious prize 12 months ago and this year’s chief contender appears to be Ten Sovereigns, who needs to bounce back after defeats in the 2000 Guineas and the Commonwealth Cup.
He is joined by Fairyland – who ran on to be fifth in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot – and So Perfect.
Martyn Meade’s Advertise won the Commonwealth Cup last month and will be well fancied to follow up this weekend – with man-of-the-moment Frankie Dettori on his back once more this weekend.
Another Royal Ascot winner lining up is Roger Varian’s Cape Byron, who steps out of handicap company into the white hot heat of a Group One.
The son of Shamardal has enjoyed a lucrative campaign already, landing Ascot’s Victoria Cup before following up in the Wokingham.
“I thought he would nearly win the Victoria Cup and he did,” said Varian.
“If you watch that race, he tanks through the first two furlongs and thank God the field merged as he has no cover and he was almost doing too much. They couldn’t go quick enough for him and when the field merged he dropped his head and he quickened best of all.
“He won the Victoria Cup well, but he was hanging on at the end. You almost watch it wishing it was a six-and-a-half-furlong race.
“Mick Denaro, who rides him, mentioned that he thought the horse would go well over six furlongs. With his input and the way the Victoria Cup unfolded, he looked like a horse that would be just as comfortable if not more comfortable back down a furlong where the field was going quicker – and he proved that in the Wokingham.”
Sir Michael Stoute’s Dream Of Dreams almost denied Blue Point his famous Ascot double in the Diamond Jubilee when rattling home – and will have plenty of followers.
Limato and Brando, standing dishes in this race, are back for another go. Limato won the race three years ago, while Brando has been placed in the last two renewals.
Brando’s trainer Kevin Ryan also runs Major Jumbo, while Michael Bell’s Pretty Pollyanna drops in trip after finishing only seventh in the Coronation Stakes.
Charlie Appleby runs Glorious Journey in the absence of the now-retired Blue Point while Lim’s Cruiser, eighth in the Diamond Jubilee, represents Singapore.