Battaash and Ten Sovereigns remain on course for a fascinating clash in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Friday, which offers the winner an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint this fall at Santa Anita Park.
The Charlie Hills-trained Battaash has again been in fine form this season, most recently recording a third success in the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
But he has found the Group 1 showpiece on the Knavesmire beyond him in the past two years, finishing fourth in the past two runnings. He remains without a win in a QIPCO British Champions Series race, having also been runner-up in the King's Stand on two occasions.
Ten Sovereigns went into this season as a leading contender for Classic honors, but after his fifth to stablemate Magna Grecia in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas he has reverted to sprinting.
Fourth in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, Aidan O'Brien's colt went to Newmarket, where he reversed Royal Ascot running with Advertise to land the Darley July Cup.
Last year's winner Alpha Delphini misses the race after meeting with a setback, but narrow runner-up Mabs Cross bids to go one better, after flashing past the post almost as one with Bryan Smart's charge 12 months ago.
It was a tense wait for connections of both, before Alpha Delphini was called the winner by a nose.
The Michael Dods-trained Mabs Cross went on to land the Prix de l'Abbaye at ParisLongchamp on Arc day and showed herself in good heart when fourth to Blue Point and Battaash in the King's Stand at the Royal meeting.
Dods, who could also be represented by Intense Romance, reports all to be on course with his stable star.
He said: “We're happy with her. She's where we want her to be.”
Hills has a second string to his bow in the shape of Garrus, with O'Brien also able to call on Sergei Prokofiev, So Perfect and Fairyland.
The list of possibles is completed by Copper Knight (Tim Easterby), El Astronaute (John Quinn), Ornate (David Griffiths), Rumble Inthejungle (Richard Spencer) and Soldier's Call (Archie Watson).
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