Aidan O’Brien’s Blackbeard heads a field of eight colts declared for the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
The Ballydoyle handler has saddled a record six previous winners of the juvenile Group One and this year fires a twin assault, with Blackbeard renewing rivalry with stablemate The Antarctic.
Blackbeard is on a hat-trick after winning the Prix Robert Papin at Chantilly and the Prix Morny at Deauville on his two most recent starts, races in which The Antarctic has finished in second and third respectively.
Splitting the pair in the Morny was the Richard Hannon-trained Persian Force, who also heads to the Rowley Mile this weekend.
Marshman is a leading contender for Karl Burke judged on his second place behind Noble Style in the Gimcrack at York last month.
Noble Style’s trainer, Charlie Appleby, is represented by Mischief Magic, who registered a third successive win in the Sirenia Stakes at Kempton three weeks ago.
The field is completed by James Ferguson’s impressive Yarmouth scorer Zoology and Ismail Mohammed’s pair of Once More For Luck and Never Just A Dream, with the latter turning out just nine days after winning on the final night of the Racing League at Newcastle.
“He is very well after the race at Newcastle, he is fresh and pulling,” said Mohammed.
“The plan is to go to the Middle Park at Newmarket on Saturday. I hope he’ll love the ground, if it’s not soft then we’ll go.”
The juvenile fillies get their chance to shine at the highest level in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes, for which a strong field of 10 are set to face the starter.
Favouritism is disputed by O’Brien’s Meditate, who lost her unbeaten record when runner-up in the Moyglare Stud Stakes a fortnight ago, and Hannon’s narrow Flying Childers winner Trillium.
Burke’s shock Lowther heroine Swingalong and the Ralph Beckett-trained duo of Juliet Sierra and Lezoo also feature.
Dual winners Dubai Mile (Charlie and Mark Johnston) and Flying Honours (Appleby) are two of just four runners in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes, while 29 will go to post for the bet365 Cambridgeshire, with Mujtaba and Protagonist — both trained by William Haggas — the top two in the betting.