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Aidan O’Brien is triple-handed as he bids for an overdue success in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot on Friday.
The Ballydoyle handler has surprisingly saddled just one previous winner of a race commonly referred to as the Ascot Derby, with Five Dynasties claiming victory back in 2004.
The likely market leader for this year’s renewal is Ryan Moore’s mount, Delano Roosevelt, who was runner-up in the Ballysax Stakes and the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown before finishing sixth in the Investec Derby.
O’Brien said: “Delano Roosevelt ran well in the Derby and he has come out of it well.
“He has been in good form since.”
The trainer’s son, Donnacha, takes the ride on Rostropovich, who needs to bounce back from a disappointing run in the French Derby.
Seamie Heffernan is on board Giuseppe Garibaldi, who steps up in class after winning a Navan maiden and a Listed event at Leopardstown.
O’Brien added: “We are not really sure what happened with Rostropovich in France, but we were a little bit disappointed with his run.
“He is stepping up to a mile and a half now. He should like the ground and the track. He also seems to be in good form.
“Giuseppe Garibaldi took a run or two to win his maiden then he won a Listed race at Leopardstown last time.
“We were going to go a mile and six (furlongs) but we just said we would leave him at a mile and a half.
“He travels well in his races. We will probably step him up after this.”
The formidable combination of trainer John Gosden and Frankie Dettori is represented by Nottingham and Leicester victor Raa Atoll.
Charlie Appleby is looking forward to saddling Old Persian, who claimed the Listed Fairway Stakes at Newmarket last month.
“He’s got a nice, progressive profile. It’s another step up in trip and in class. Those are the two question marks but we feel he deserves to be there,” said the trainer.
“He won’t look out of place and I’m confident we’ll see that bit more improvement stepping up in trip.”
Wells Farhh Go won twice at York as a juvenile, including the Acomb Stakes, and was sixth on his return to the Knavesmire in last month’s Dante Stakes.
Trainer Tim Easterby said: “The Dante was 10 furlongs and he was just getting going. Over a mile and a half he’ll love it.”
“He’s going there a fresh horse and we’re looking forward to running him.”
The Queen’s Elector (Sir Michael Stoute), Highbrow (David Simcock) and Alternative Fact (Ed Dunlop) complete the nine-strong field.
Eighteen juvenile fillies were declared for the first race of the afternoon, the Group Three Albany Stakes.
O’Brien again appears to have a strong hand, with Moore seemingly favouring Curragh maiden scorer Just Wonderful over Marble Hill Stakes heroine Fairyland, the mount of Heffernan.
O’Brien said: “Seamus’ filly won her maiden over five furlongs then won a Listed race over the colts over six the next day.
“She is a very straightforward filly and it looks like she will get further than six furlongs.
“Ryan’s filly has only won a maiden but was very impressive and he loved her when she won it. She is a nice filly as well but we will learn a lot about them both after the race.
“Fairyland has done well to win twice and the other filly did very well to win as she was across the other side of the track at the Curragh but she still won very nicely.”
Other leading contenders include Mark Johnston’s dual winner Main Edition and Wesley Ward’s American challenger Stillwater Cove.