Superstar staying and reigning Champion, Stradivarius, is one of thirteen horses still engaged in Thursday’s Group One Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
Last year Stradivarius beat the French challenger Vazirabad by ¾ of a length, as part of a winning spree.
He returned looking as good as ever, as he won the Yorkshire Cup in May.
He faces stern opposition next week, including Melbourne Cup hero Cross Counter, who is set to represent Charlie Appleby. He was last seen winning the Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup night in March.
Mark Johnston’s Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee has emerged as a staying force this season, winning the Sagaro Stakes and Henry II Stakes.
Aidan O’Brien has left in his two most recent St Leger winner, Kew Gardens and Capri. He also has Cypress Creek, Flag Of Honour and Southern France engaged.
The Irish challenge could be further bolstered by the Willie Mullins-trained Thomas Hobson and Joseph O’Brien’s Master Of Reality.
Magic Circle could run for Ian Williams, while Richard Hannon has left in Sagaro runner-up Raymond Tusk.
Trainer Pia Brandt could send Called To The Bar over from France.