Connections of Regal Reality hope he can make the most of having his sights lowered in the Sky Bet York Stakes.
Despite being fractious in the preliminaries, Sir Michael Stoute’s charge ran out an impressive winner on his first start over a mile and a quarter in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown in May – and he then returned to the Esher venue for the Coral-Eclipse three weeks ago.
There was again evidence of his slightly wayward temperament beforehand, but he demonstrated his class during the race itself to finish a clear third behind multiple Group One winners Enable and Magical – and he will be a hot favourite to get back on the winning trail on Saturday.
Chris Richardson, managing director for Regal Reality’s owner-breeders Cheveley Park Stud, said: “He seems to have come out of his last race very well, and we’re looking forward to running him.
“Obviously we are hoping he’ll behave and won’t be too daunted by the new experience. Who knows what will happen? At least we’ve got the option of vanning him across the course to the parade ring if we need to.”
Regal Reality heads a five-strong field, with the William Haggas-trained Addeybb and Mark Johnston’s Elarqam set to renew rivalry after finishing first and third respectively in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.
Addeybb has not run since, and Haggas warns he will line up on the Knavesmire this weekend only if conditions are suitable.
“The more rain they get the better his chance. If they don’t get enough rain then he might not even run, so we’ll see what happens,” said Haggas.
“I’m very happy with him, and there is a possibility they’ll get some rain. They’ll get quite a lot, with any luck.”
Since finishing third behind Addeybb, Elarqam has secured a fourth career victory in the Gala Stakes at Sandown.
Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, is looking forward to seeing the son of Frankel step back up in grade.
He said: “Mark and the team have been very happy with Elarqam since his win at Sandown. Saturday obviously represents a step up in grade, and we will find out if he is up to it, but he has been very consistent so far this season.
“He ran a very good race at Ascot on ground that would not have suited, and appears to have got over a few little immaturity problems that he had.
“He is going the right way, and we hope he can keep it going.”
Andrew Balding’s Bangkok returns to a mile and a quarter after chasing home Japan over a mile and a half in the King Edward VII Stakes.
Alastair Donald, bloodstock manager for owners King Power Racing, said: “We didn’t want to run him against Fox Chairman in the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot, so he went over a mile and a half and ran very well.
“We think he might have too good a turn of foot for a mile and a half, and a mile and a quarter around York should be ideal.”
The small but select field is completed by Richard Fahey’s Forest Ranger – who has not been seen in competitive action since successfully defending his crown in the Huxley Stakes at Chester in May – and Knight To Behold from Harry Dunlop’s yard.
The latter disappointed in the Prix d’Ispahan at ParisLongchamp on his latest outing, and is fitted with blinkers for the first time.
Dunlop said: “I don’t think he really enjoyed racing at Longchamp in the Prix d’Ispahan – he has been there twice now and not really liked it.
“It was over nine furlongs as well ,and they all sat behind Knight To Behold and snapped him off in the last half-furlong.
“He wasn’t beaten very far, and we are hoping that a more galloping track will be more suitable for him.”