Jim Bolger’s brilliant miler added last week’s St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot to his Qipco 2000 Guineas triumph at Newmarket as he bounced back from the ignominy of an unbelievably poor run in the Epsom Derby.
The colt, who wears the Godolphin blue, is among 35 entries for the Group One over an extended mile and a quarter won last year by Frankel.
The absence of the now-retired Frankel has not diluted the quality of entries for York’s richest race that begins four days of action on August 21 and will see horses competing for a prize fund of £3.2m spread over 25 races.
A high-quality entry includes Toronado, who was just touched off by Dawn Approach at Ascot, Epsom Derby hero Ruler Of The World, the globetrotting Snow Queen, Breeders Cup hero St Nicholas Abbey and Al Kazeem, now one of the favourites for Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes last week under James Doyle.
As well as Ruler Of The World and St Nicholas Abbey, Aidan O’Brien has also entered one-time Derby favourite Kingsbarns, who has not run since last season’s Racing Post Trophy, Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Magician and Queen Anne victor Declaration Of War.
Telescope, another leading Derby contender not to have run so far this year, is a possible for Sir Michael Stoute, while John Gosden’s progressive Ascot winner Remote could represent the Frankel colours of sponsor Khalid Abdullah.
Just The Judge, winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas and due to step up in trip in the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, also holds the engagement.
Epsom Oaks heroine Talent heads the field for the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, a race that also includes the ultra-consistent The Fugue who came to prominence when winning the Musidora Stakes on the Knavesmire in May last year.
The fastest horses of the week will be on show in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes. Last year Ortensia travelled from Australia to claim the crown and York’s flying five furlongs may yet be the stage for another former Aussie speedball in Sea Siren, a horse now trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien who has also entered Royal Ascot winner Declaration of War.
Local hopes could rest with the aptly-named York Glory – a Royal Ascot victor for Hambleton trainer Kevin Ryan – while dual Nunthorpe winner Borderlescott has been given an intriguing entry by Wetherby trainer Robin Bastiman after his stable star was brought out of retirement.
Meanwhile, Mick Easterby will be hoping that golfer Lee Westwood’s Hoof It, a beaten favourite in 2011, can return to winning ways. A trip to York for the Betfred Ebor remains a possibility for Royal Ascot winner Opinion. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt stayed on well to claim the 12-furlong Duke of Edinburgh Handicap in Berkshire last week on what was just his 10th career start.
“I’m delighted that the star horses in their respective categories have got our feature races on their radar,” said York chief executive William Derby.
“Seeing the entries for three of our British Champions Series Races demonstrates the world class fields that are likely to grace the Knavesmire in eight weeks time.”
Yorkshire racehorse owner-breeder Sally Bethell has topped the poll in this year’s elections to the influential Racehorse Owners Association.
She becomes a new member of the 16-strong council headed by Rachel Hood, wife of champion trainer John Gosden.
She has been an owner for 25 years and is married to Middleham trainer James Bethell.