After his late retirement from the Cazoo Derby at Epsom in early June, Mohaafeth, trained by William Haggas, made four out of four for the season in Jim Crowley’s flagship meeting at the Hampton Court Stakes last month.
Meanwhile, Juan Elcano, who was trained in Hambleton by Kevin Ryan, bounced back from a disappointing run of results by winning the Wolferton Stakes under Andrea Atzeni, who believes he will have a lot in his favor in the Knavesmire. He said: “He won well on fast track at Ascot which he will hopefully get on Saturday – that’s what he wants.
“I think an easy one and a quarter mile in York will suit him perfectly. Of course our colleague has to improve again, but I’m sure he made it and it was great to put his head in the lead on the last day.
“He’s a horse we’ve always thought about a lot. As I said, he has to take another step forward, but if he does he should be very competitive. “
The top-rated horse in the field is Armory, who could give trainer Aidan O’Brien an early success in the York Stakes after finishing just under third in the Prince of Wales Stakes last month behind his esteemed stable mate Love.
Haggas also fielded the talented Miler Montatham, who was able to test the water over 10 stadiums for the first time in Group Two on Saturday. Andrew Baldings Bangkok and Ebury from Scott Dixon’s court are the other bearers of hope.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned love and derby hero Adayar is one of nine confirmations for the stakes of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco at Ascot.
Last season’s winner of the English, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks, Love made a successful return to the Prince of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot after 10 months off the track.
O’Brien has also left Broome, Japan and Mogul in search of a fifth King George success after previous triumphs of Galileo (2001), Dylan Thomas (2007), Duke Of Marmalade (2008) and Highland Reel (2016) ).
With Coronation Cup winner Pyledriver knocked out after a setback, Love’s greatest threat appears to be Charlie Appleby-trained Adayar, who was a brilliant derby winner last month.
This form has since been well promoted by his stable mate Hurricane Lane, who finished third in the first classic and then won both the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris. Love must allow Adayar 8 pounds due to the age weight supplement.
Martyn Meade will saddle Irish Derby runner-up Lone Eagle, while Haggas-trained Addeybb and John and Thady Gosdens Mishriff could renew their rivalry after finishing second and third behind St. Mark’s Basilica in the Coral Eclipse in Sandown.