Dettori set for Kingston ride
The Fugue and Night Of Thunder headline the first big clash of the generations this season in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Saturday - in which Frankie Dettori was a surprise booking for Kingston Hill.
Five-year-old The Fugue bids to follow up her victory in the Prince of Wales's Stakes and erase the memory of her dismal run in this race 12 months ago.
The admirable mare, trained by John Gosden, finished last behind Al Kazeem last summer but went on to win Group Ones at York and Leopardstown in 2013, and has won four times in all the highest level.
She will be taken on by one of the best three-year-old colts around in Night Of Thunder, the 40/1 winner of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas who has since taken second place behind the Gosden-trained Kingman in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Investec Derby runner-up Kingston Hill has been declared at the 48-hour final declaration stage, but his participation depends on the state of the ground.
The Roger Varian-trained colt was a late withdrawal from the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby last weekend because conditions were considered too fast for the son of Mastercraftsman.
If he runs he will be ridden by Dettori for the first time as his usual partner Andrea Atzeni is required at Haydock by owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum, who retains the young Italian on all his horses.
Atzeni said: "I'm going to Haydock for a couple of rides.
"When you have a retainer there's always a risk of something like this happening. I signed the contract last year and it states I go wherever I'm required.
"To be fair, Mohammed has been very good regarding Kingston Hill and has let me off a couple of times but this weekend he wants me at Haydock and I totally understand that.
"It's a shame, obviously, but it's one of those things.
"I'm going to ride a lovely horse (Roseburg) who has won his last two and is improving very fast. It's my job to go where Mohammed has runners.
"I'll be cheering Kingston on, though, make no mistake. I'm happy Frankie rides him."
In contrast to Kingston Hill, connections of True Story want the going to be fast for the Godophin-owned colt, who was only seventh in the Derby at Epsom.
His team have not lost faith in Saeed bin Suroor's charge and will have a pacemaker in the shape of the Mark Johnston-trained Somewhat.
A fifth three-year-old among the 11 declarations is Aidan O'Brien's War Command. He finished behind Night Of Thunder in the 2000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes.
His trainer is also represented by Verrazano.
Officials at Sandown are forecast a little rain but have been doing prudent watering in places.
"We think rain is on its way. The forecast for the last few days has been pretty consistent for us in that a spell of what looks like light patchy rain, but spread over a number of hours, should come across the south east on Friday evening into Saturday morning. Dry and warm until then," clerk of the course Andrew Cooper told At The Races.
"As to the volume of rain in that Friday night spell, nothing I'm looking at says we will get beyond five millimetres of potential rain. It sounds like it's going to be a night of light patchy drizzle before it clears up on Saturday morning. That is the kind of consistent forecast we have been getting all week.
"It is good, Flat racing ground in the main, with the hot dry weather we've had introducing good to firm places.
"We did a little bit of watering on the bend on Wednesday night. One or two of the quick bits we will have a look at now. We have the ability to put on two millimetres, ju st something to hold the ground where it is.
"We just might keep on top of the quick bits to keep it in the good, good to firm places territory for today."