Multiple Group One winner Ouija Board heads a field of nine in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.
The five-year-old mare bids to become only the third of her sex to win the historic Group One contest after Pebbles (1985) and Kooyonga (1992). They were both four when successful.
Carrying Lord Derby’s colours and trained by Ed Dunlop, she took her tally at the highest level to five when winning the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Partnered by Olivier Peslier that day, she will be ridden by French champion jockey Christophe Soumillon for the first time on Saturday.
Opposition includes her main market rival last year’s Champion Stakes winner David Junior, who was two lengths behind her in fourth place at the Royal meeting.
Brian Meehan’s runner will be accompanied by his new stable companion Royal Alchemist, who has just been purchased from Mark Usher’s yard by David Junior’s owners Roldvale Ltd and Gold Group International, a company owned by David Sullivan.
Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien relies on French 2000 Guineas winner Aussie Rules to give him a fourth Eclipse triumph after he took out Ace, Arabian Prince and Hurricane Cat at the 48-hour final declaration stage.
Sir Michael Stoute, who has won the race four times, saddles Notnowcato and Notable Guest while Pebbles’ trainer Clive Brittain runs Hattan.
The field is completed by last season’s Cambridgeshire hero Blue Monday, trained by Roger Charlton, and Snoqualmie Boy from David Elsworth’s stable, who were both supplemented for the race on Monday at a cost of £20,000 (€28,810).
The sponsors have Ouija Board as their 13-8 favourite with David Junior 2-1.
“We are delighted that once again this great race has attracted a top class field, and we are grateful to the connections of all nine horses for throwing their hats into the Coral-Eclipse ring,” said Coral spokesman, Simon Clare.
“Ouija Board is without question the most popular mare in Britain if not the world, and in David Junior we have one of the up and coming stars of the division.
“Throw in the three year old, Aussie Rules and we have a contest to savour on many different levels.”
Coral-Eclipse Stakes, sponsors bet: 13-8 Ouija Board, 2-1 David Junior, 7-1 Aussie Rules, 9-1 Notnowcato, 10-1 Blue Monday, 14-1 Snoqualmie Boy, 16-1 Notable Guest, 40-1 Hattan, 66-1 Royal Alchemist.