Royal Ascot: confirmed runners and riders for the Gold Cup
Stradivarius will face ten rivals in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot as he attempts to become the first horse since Yeats to win consecutive renewals of Thursday's highlight.
Bjorn Nielsen's five-year-old will be partnered by Frankie Dettori as usual, but one of his most intriguing threats has not been declared for the 2m4f Group 1 with Coronation Cup runner-up Kew Gardens not in the line-up.
His stablemate Southern France, who chased home Stradivarius on his comeback at York, was the other entry not declared.
Aidan O'Brien remains well represented in the Gold Cup with Capri, Flag Of Honour and Cypress Creek, while the trainer's son Joseph runs Master Of Reality. Ryan Moore will be on board Flag Of Honour, with Donnacha O'Brien on Capri and Seamie Heffernan on Cypress Creek.
Melbourne Cup and Dubai Gold Cup winner Cross Counter has long been regarded as one of the main dangers to Stradivarius's dominant grip on the staying division and will be partnered by James Doyle for the first time, with regular partner William Buick on the sidelines.
Mark Johnston has trained the winner of the Gold Cup three times, most recently with Royal Rebel in 2002. The Middleham trainer relies on Dee Ex Bee, last year's Derby runner-up who has impressed this season in winning the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot and Henry II Stakes at Sandown.
Raymond Tusk and Magic Circle are the other two Gold Cup contenders trained in Britain by Richard Hannon and Ian Williams.
Thomas Hobson, the mount of Andrea Atzeni, adds to the strong Irish representation for Willie Mullins with French raider Called To The Bar completing the line-up.
Gold Cup runners and riders
1 Called To The Bar (Maxime Guyon)
2 Capri (Donnacha O'Brien)
3 Magic Circle (Jim Crowley)
4 Stradivarius (Frankie Dettori)
5 Thomas Hobson (Andrea Atzeni)
6 Cross Counter (James Doyle)
7 Cypress Creek (Seamie Heffernan)
8 Dee Ex Bee (Silvestre de Sousa)
9 Flag Of Honour (Ryan Moore)
10 Master Of Reality (Wayne Lordan)
11 Raymond Tusk (Jamie Spencer)
Elsewhere on Thursday's card, John Gosden holds a strong hand as he seeks a third victory in the Ribblesdale Stakes. Gosden is represented by four fillies in the 1m4f Group 2, with Fanny Logan, Shambolic, Sparkle Roll and Star Catcher running for the Newmarket trainer.
Investec Oaks third Fleeting is one of two for Aidan O’Brien, who also runs Peach Tree, while Frankellina, sixth at Epsom, runs for William Haggas. Newbury winner Queen Power is another key contender for Sir Michael Stoute and King Power Racing.
King Power have a big chance in the Norfolk Stakes too, with the Paddy Twomey-trained Sunday Sovereign one of 15 declared in the Group 2 two-year-old contest, with Ventura Rebel, Mount Fuji and Maven among the opposition.
London Gold Cup winner Headman will tackle Group company for the first time in the Hampton Court Stakes. Cape Of Good Hope, Fox Chairman and King Ottokar are other leading contenders set to go to post for the 1m2f Group 3.
Davydenko is the last horse guaranteed a run in the Britannia Stakes, with Migration filling the position of first reserve for the mile handicap. Barristan The Bold and Allmankind are second and third reserves.
The Paul Cole-trained Majestic Dawn is the last horse to get a run in the King George V Handicap, with Gantier the first reserve with War Tiger a non-runner.
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