Henry Cecil’s Frankel could face up to nine rivals in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
The devastating 2000 Guineas winner put now-retired star miler Canford Cliffs firmly in his place with an awesome display in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on his latest start and goes for his ninth success from as many starts in this weekend’s Qipco-sponsored Group One contest.
Marco Botti’s Excelebration could be the rival who puts up most resistance.
Although soundly beaten by Frankel twice this season, an excellent display in the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp suggests he is still improving.
“Obviously it’s very exciting to have a good horse going for such a big race. He did his final piece of work on Saturday, it went well and he’s ready to run,” said Botti.
“From what I’ve heard from Frankel’s team, they are very confident and they have said he’ll improve.
“We’re aware of the difficulty of the task, but that’s racing, and we’ve got a good horse.
“In another era without Frankel he could be the best miler in Europe but it’s nice to have a chance to run against a horse who’s considered to be the best in the world.
“It’s going to be tough.”
The Italian trainer is refusing to look beyond this weekend for Excelebration, adding: “The owners said it all depends on Ascot.
“The Breeders’ Cup comes too soon, there could be the option of Hong Kong but we’ll see.
“I’d love to have him next year as I think he could improve at four, but we’ll see where we are at the end of the season.”
Cecil has also entered Frankel’s stablemate and work companion Bullet Train, who looks set to act as pacemaker on Saturday.
Champion trainer Richard Hannon has entered Dick Turpin and Dubawi Gold, while Godolphin may also be doubly represented with Poet’s Voice and Rio De La Plata.
The Roger Charlton-trained Cityscape, high-class French mare Immortal Verse and Andrew Balding’s Side Glance complete the confirmations.