Connections of Thundering Blue have taken the plunge and supplemented the grey for the Juddmonte International Stakes at York on Wednesday.
Trainer David Menuisier and owner Clive Washbourn were persuaded to add the five-year-old grey to the field for the extended 10-furlong Group One at a cost of £75,000 on the back of his victory in the York Stakes over the course and distance last month.
That was his first attempt in Group Two company after being campaigned in handicaps and Menuisier believes Thundering Blue will not be out of place in this star-studded line-up.
“The main reason is he is a course and distance winner, a Group Two winner and he deserves to step into Group One company,” said the Pulborough handler.
“It’s a horse race and hopefully he’ll run a good race.”
The 11 horses that stood their ground at the confirmation stage are headed by Sir Michael Stoute’s Poet’s Word, who is seeking his third Group One success of the summer after the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
John Gosden will wait to see what the weather does before deciding which of his three stable stars will take their chance.
The Clarehaven handler is in the envious position of being able to choose between Eclipse winner Roaring Lion, last year’s Champion Stakes winner Cracksman and St James’s Palace Stakes scorer Without Parole.
However, it is highly unlikely both Cracksman and Without Parole will both run with the former wanting a bit of cut in the ground while the latter needs it quick.
“It’s very much ground dependent. I’ll just leave them in the race and then we’ll just see what the weather does,” said Gosden.
“Anything can happen this time of year – you can get thunderstorms. So let’s just assess it – we’ll probably have to go quite close to the race to work it out.
“Roaring Lion is in good form. He did a public workout at the July Course on Saturday. We are happy with him going into the race.
“We’ve finally had some rain here at Newmarket and Cracksman worked nicely on the Limekilns (on Wednesday), just getting his toe in which he appreciates.
“Without Parole did a breeze. Obviously the Sussex Stakes (lost his unbeaten record) was a somewhat muddling affair to say the least and we have him in mind for the race. But then he does not want to see much rain. He likes top of the ground.
“It is looking like a very interesting race. We’ve plenty of respect for the opposition. Saxon Warrior and Roaring Lion have met before, bringing the three-year-old form there and then you’ve got some very good, rock-solid older horse form.”
Joseph O’Brien has left in Irish Derby winner Latrobe, who also holds an entry in the Great Voltigeur Stakes.
His father, Aidan, has 2000 Guineas victor Saxon Warrior and the three-year-old filly Magical, a Group Two winner at the Curragh last month.
Saeed bin Suroor is double-handed with last month’s German Group One scorer Benbatl and Thunder Snow, winner of the Dubai World Cup on his last start in March.
Addeybb, trained by William Haggas, is the other possible.