Royal Ascot hero A’Ali and impressive York scorer Alligator Alley do battle for the Wainwright Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster on Friday.
The Simon Crisford-trained A’Ali claimed a narrow victory in the Norfolk Stakes in June before doubling his big-race tally in the Prix Robert Papin at Deauville.
He could only finish fifth when stepped up to six furlongs in a red-hot renewal of the Group One Prix Morny at the same track last month, but nevertheless sets a lofty standard as he returns to the minimum trip on Town Moor.
Joseph O’Brien’s Alligator Alley is rated his biggest threat, having overcome early interference to run out an impressive winner of the Listed Roses Stakes at York.
O’Brien said: “We were delighted with him at York and he’s been in good form since.
“This looks a very good race, but we’re hoping for a good run.”
Irish hopes are also carried by Wheels On Fire, who makes his first start for Aidan Fogarty, having previously been trained in France by Matthieu Palussiere.
The youngster was last seen finishing fifth in the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood – three places behind Alligator Alley.
Fogarty said: “I’m not sure what to expect, to be honest.
“He seems in good form. He came to us straight after Goodwood, where he ran very well, and we’ve been very happy with him.
“We’re hoping for a big run.”
The penultimate day of the St Leger Festival gets under way with the Group Three Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes.
A field of 14 runners have been declared, with the Roger Varian-trained Farzeen the likely favourite.
The daughter of Farhh tests the water at Pattern level for the first time following a couple of emphatic wins in novice company at Redcar and Kempton respectively.
Mark Weinfeld, manager for owners Helena Springfield Ltd, said: “We just don’t know how good she is yet.
“We were originally looking for a Listed race for her, but Roger identified this race as a possible. It looks quite hot, though.
“She didn’t run at two and had a run in January before having a break. She couldn’t have been more impressive in winning her last two, so we thought we’d look for some black type.
“We might have bitten off a bit more than we can chew. We’ll see.”
Farzeen’s rivals include Ralph Beckett’s Di Fede, the William Haggas-trained Pretty Baby and the hat-trick-seeking Posted from Richard Hannon’s yard.
Crisford’s four-time winner Saroog will be a warm order to give weight and a beating to just five opponents in the £40,000 William Hill Mallard Handicap, while the Weatherbys Global Stallions App Flying Scotsman Stakes merits close inspection.
This seven-furlong contest was won by the one and only Frankel in 2010 and has thrown up smart winners since then, too – with subsequent Guineas runner-up Tip Two Win scoring in 2017 and Royal Ascot victor Sangarius doing the business 12 months ago.
The standard in this year’s renewal is set by Mark Johnston’s Vintage Stakes fourth Visinari, but he is taken on by four other promising colts in Andrew Balding’s Berlin Tango, Ralph Beckett’s Tomfre, Aidan O’Brien’s Wichita and the Varian-trained Molatham.
Having filled the runner-up berth behind the hugely exciting Mums Tipple on his Ascot debut, the latter claimed victory in the usually-informative Convivial Maiden at York on his latest appearance.
Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “He won nicely at York and we hope he’s a smart horse, but he is very much a work in progress.
“We decided we’d step him up to a Listed race next and hopefully this will tell us whether he could run in one of the bigger two-year-old races later in the year.”