Aidan O’Brien will saddle Circus Maximus and Mohawk in a bid to win an eighth Homeserve Dee Stakes at Chester on Thursday.
The Ballydoyle maestro has dominated this recognised Derby trial in recent years – saddling five of the last seven winners including the last two in Cliffs Of Moher and Rostropovich.
Circus Maximums appears the stable’s chief hope this time around, having rounded off his juvenile campaign by finishing a close-up fourth behind his 2000 Guineas-winning stablemate Magna Grecia in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.
His stablemate Mohawk is a talented performer in his own right, winning the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket last September before finishing last of seven runners in the Dewhurst.
The home team is headed by Andrew Balding’s impressive Newbury winner Fox Chairman, with Michael Bell’s Allmankind, the Charlie Hills-trained Dark Jedi, Mark Johnston’s Living Legend and Mohtarrif from Marcus Tregoning’s yard completing the seven-strong field.
The undoubted star attraction among six horses declared for the Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes is O’Brien’s Kew Gardens.
The Galileo colt makes his seasonal reappearance in the one-mile-five-furlong Group Three following a tremendous three-year-old campaign that included Royal Ascot success in the Queen’s Vase and Classic glory in the St Leger at Doncaster.
He is joined by stable companion Cypress Creek, while Matthew Smith’s Warnaq is a third Irish challenger.
Ian Williams saddles last year’s Chester Cup hero Magic Circle, with Balding’s Morando and Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Dalgarno the other hopefuls.