Here’s a guide to all the declared runners who remain in the mix.
Official Rating: 116. Timeform Rating: 130. Odds: 25-1
Positives: Finished a close fourth in the Derby two years ago and is standing up well to a busy schedule this summer, winning a Group One contest at Saint-Cloud last time after finishing a length and a half second to Wonderful Tonight in the Hardwicke Stakes over course and distance. He's flexible regards trip and tactics, with his consistency earning him bonus marks, and his trainer says he win't mind if the rains arrive.
Negatives: Probably did not have to improve to belatedly win at the highest level last time. After five previous defeats in Group One races (including behind Wonderful Tonight) we know he has his limitations. His official rating reflects that he's got something to find and, at 5, it's difficult to see where he will find the improvement to bridge the gap.
Verdict: Tough and consistent but looks up against it.
Official Rating: 122. Timeform Rating: 136. Odds: 8-1
Positives: He’s already won his connections more than £10 million in prize-money with his big-race triumphs in France, Saudi Arabia and Dubai – including over 1m 4f in the Sheema Classic (watch above) in March. Also shaped well when third to St Mark’s Basilica in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown last time, running as if his first outing for 98 days might have been needed. Versatile regards ground and has a great attitude.
Negatives: His globetrotting exploits cannot mask the fact that he’s won only two of his six races in Britain, including when tried at the highest level in the Champion Stakes and Eclipse over 1m 2f. It’s possible that is his best trip, with 1m 4f on this stiff track against strong stayers potentially being a stretch for him.
Verdict: He’s enjoyed tremendous success around the world but looks vulnerable on home soil in this company.
Official Rating: 122. Timeform Rating: 135. Odds: 5-4
Watch how Love won the Yorkshire Oaks
Positives: She was a Group One winner at two, unbeaten in three starts at the highest level at three (1000 Guineas, Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks) and began this season with a tenacious all-the-way win in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, when apparently short of peak fitness. Versatile regards trip, blessed with a will-to-win and since being beaten on her debut her record on officially good ground or quicker reads 1111111. There’s very little not to like.
Negatives: You can only beat what you are up against, but the opposition for her Classic wins and at York lacked depth. In addition, she enjoyed the run of the race when the workmanlike winner of a muddling Prince of Wales’s Stakes last time. This will be the stiffest assignment she has faced.
Verdict: A class act although her performances have been more about style than substance.
Official Rating: 117. Timeform Rating: 131. Odds: 14-1
David Menuisier and Chris Wright told us more about Wonderful Tonight - on Luck On Sunday
Positives: She signed off last year with successive Group One wins in the space of a fortnight in France and England, latterly when winning the Fillies & Mares Stakes on British Champions Day over course and distance. Made light of an eight-month absence when landing the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, racing with typical zest and not being fully extended to beat the racefit Broome by a length and a half. Difficult to know where her ceiling might be and may have even more to offer.
Negatives: All her wins have been achieved on soft/heavy ground and she's been beaten on the three occasions she has raced on good going or firmer, in much lesser company than she will face on Saturday. Her wins at the highest level last year against her own sex lacked a bit of substance and now finds herself in deeper waters.
Verdict: She picked up from where she left off at Royal Ascot but connections say that she will only line up if sufficient rain arrives.
Official Rating: 121. Timeform Rating: 133. Odds: 2-1
Positives: The Frankel colt is clearly in his element over a mile and a half and, backed from 40-1 to 16-1 on the day of the race, was a commanding winner of the Derby at Epsom last month (watch above). The form has been bolstered, too, with the third home, Hurricane Lane, subsequently landing the Irish equivalent as well as the Grand Prix de Paris, and the seventh, Bolshoi Ballet, winning in Grade One company in America. There could still be more to come plus the weight-for-age scale means his older rivals have to concede him between 8lb and 11lb.
Negatives: The last Derby winner to win this in the same year was Galileo 20 years ago (admittedly few have tried in the interim) and, while he was convincing at Epsom, it’s still difficult to comprehend his earlier defeats in the trials at Sandown and Lingfield. His trainer admitted afterwards that he suspected he was more of a St Leger candidate and that the third home, Hurricane Lane, had been his main hope. Interestingly, the latter turned the tables on Mojo Star, the Derby runner-up, in no uncertain at the Curragh.
Verdict: Has to prove his Derby win was not a one-off.
Official Rating: 119. Timeform Rating: 130. Odds: 7-1
The Verdict: Angus McNae studies the Irish Derby
Positives: Progressed well as a two-year-old and, typical of Galileo’s stock, has maintained his momentum this year; thumping Yibir (good winner since) at Goodwood before being collared close home by Hurricane Lane in the Irish Derby last time after looking sure to win. The pair pulled seven lengths clear and the winner has followed up in impressive style in France. Likes to make running or race prominently and could get a relatively easy time at the head of affairs under Frankie Dettori as none of his rivals usually make the running. Versatile regards ground conditions.
Negatives: His style of running means he will have a big target on his back and it seems unlikely he will be given much rope, which was possibly the case in the Irish Derby last time. It also remains to be seen whether his exploits that day have left a mark. Finished behind Adayar when they met at Sandown in April, although admittedly he was perhaps not at his best that day.
Verdict: A most likeable colt who ticks plenty of boxes and has to be high on any shortlist.
A fascinating renewal in which LONE EAGLE is the only contender without at least one Group One win to his name. However, he could have hardly have gone closer in the Irish Derby last time and that form stands up, with the winner subsequently following up in style in France. At the prices, he makes more appeal than Love and Adayar. Double-figure odds about Wonderful Tonight, twice an impressive winner at Ascot, also make some appeal, but it remains to be seen how important soft ground is to her.
1. LONE EAGLE. 2 LOVE. 3 WONDERFUL TONIGHT.
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