Sangarius and Regal Reality, both impressive G3 winners this season for Newmarket trainer Sir Michael Stoute, feature among 11 tremendous entries for £120,000 G2 Sky Bet York Stakes (3.15pm) on Saturday, July 27.
The extended 10-furlong contest is the highlight of a seven-race card on day two of the Music Showcase Weekend at York, with James Arthur, winner of the X Factor in 2012, performing after racing.
Sangarius winning hte Hampton Court Stakes, photo Liesl King
Sangarius readily captured the G3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot and the progressive Kingman colt could bid to emulate the only previous three-year-old winner of the Sky Bet York Stakes, Best Alibi, who also scored for Stoute in 2006.
He is 7/4 favourite with Sky Bet to provide owner/breeder Khalid Abdullah with a third victory in the Sky Bet York Stakes following on from top-class performers Twice Over (2011) and Time Test (2016).
Further three-year-old representation is set to be provided by Bangkok (4/1, Andrew Balding), who finished down the field in the G1 Derby at Epsom Downs, but bounced back to form with a good second in the G2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, both run over 12 furlongs in June.
The Australia colt started his campaign with two victories over a mile and a quarter in April, including when comfortably taking the G3 Classic Trial at Sandown Park.
Alastair Donald, bloodstock manager for owner King Power Racing, remarked today: "Bangkok is an intended runner on Saturday.
"He came out of the King Edward VII Stakes very well and we are looking forward to seeing him back over 10 furlongs, which we feel is his best distance.
"We didn't want to run him against Fox Chairman in the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot, so he went over a mile and a half and ran very well.
"We think that he might have too good a turn of foot for a mile and a half, and a mile and a quarter around York should be ideal."
Improving four-year-old Intello colt Regal Reality (3/1 with Sky Bet) stormed to a convincing success over Matterhorn (10/1, Mark Johnston) in the G3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes over 10 furlongs at Sandown Park in May and ran a fine race in defeat at the same course when finishing third, beaten two and three quarter lengths by Enable at the same distance in the G1 Eclipse Stakes on July 6.
Forest Ranger (10/1, Richard Fahey) has also beaten Matterhorn this season, though by a narrower margin, with the duo finishing first and second in the G2 Huxley Stakes at Chester in May.
Richard Fahey, based in North Yorkshire, said today: "This has been the plan for Forest Ranger since he won at Chester and he will definitely run.
"It looks a strong renewal on paper at this stage, but he is a dual G2 winner and it is a logical place to go."
The third and fourth from the Huxley Stakes - 2017 Sky Bet York Stakes victor Success Days (33/1, Ken Condon IRE) and subsequent Listed Wolferton Stakes winner Addeybb (6/1, William Haggas) - could re-oppose as well.
Knight To Behold (16/1) made all for a decisive win in the G2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano at Deauville, France, in August last year and chased home Crystal Ocean in the G3 Gordon Richards Stakes on his seasonal return at Sandown Park in April.
The four-year-old, trained by Harry Dunlop in Lambourn, headed back to France for his latest appearance in the G1 Prix d'Ispahan at Longchamp on May 26, in which he finished a close seventh.
Dunlop commented today: "The intention is to run Knight To Behold at York. He was entered in the Eclipse, but we just felt that it was too strong a race and we waited for this contest.
"I don't think he really enjoyed racing at Longchamp in the Prix d'Ispahan - he has been there twice now and not really liked it. It was over nine furlongs as well and they all sat behind Knight To Behold and snapped him off in the last half a furlong.
"He wasn't beaten very far, but we are hoping that something a bit more galloping will be more suitable for him.
"Oisin Murphy has ridden Knight To Behold a lot. but he will be down at Ascot, so we have provisionally booked Ben Curtis."
The 2018 third Elarqam (5/1), twice successful at Listed level this season for the in-form stable of Mark Johnston, G1 Canadian International Stakes victor Desert Encounter (20/1, David Simcock) and Spotify (33/1, Charlie Appleby), a G3 winner in Dubai in February, complete the entries for Saturday's Sky Bet York Stakes..
Sky Bet York Stakes - Sky Bet prices:
7/4 Sangarius; 3/1 Regal Reality; 4/1 Bangkok; 5/1 Elarqam; 6/1 Addeybb; 10/1 Forest Ranger, Matterhorn; 16/1 Knight To Behold; 20/1 Desert Encounter, 33/1 Spotify, Success Days
Each-way 1/5 odds, 1-2-3
Swindler (Ed Walker), who made an exciting handicap debut when scoring decisively at Ascot on July 12, is 6/1 favourite with Sky Bet for the £50,000 Sky Bet Dash (2.40pm) over six furlongs on the same card.
The fiercely competitive handicap has attracted 30 entries including three from the stable of Richard Fahey - Brian The Snail, who was fifth in a five-furlong heritage handicap at Ascot on July 13, G1 runner-up Growl (both 20/1 with Sky Bet) plus course and distance winner Paddy Power (33/1).
Fahey commented: "We have three in the Sky Bet Dash and it's conceivable they could all run if they get in. We will see how they are later in the week and how the ground is looking before deciding."
Sky Bet Dash - Sky Bet prices:
6/1 Swindler; 8/1 Summerghand; 10/1 Wentworth Falls; 12/1 Dakota Gold, Gulliver; 14/1 Camacho Chief, Golden Apollo, Intisaab, Staxton; 16/1 Arecibo, Duke Of Firenze, Encrypted, Glenamoy Lad, Kick On Kick On, Savalas, Sir Maximilian; 20/1 Brian The Snail, Flying Pursuit, Growl, Hyperfocus, Jawwaal, Lancelot Du Lac, Sir Thomas Gresham; 25/1 Koditime, Line Of Reason, Marnie James, Muscika, Paddy Power; 33/1 Reflektor, Tomily
Each-way 1/5 odds, 1-2-3-4-5
Michael Shinners, Racing PR Manager at Sky Bet, said: "We are all set for a tremendous card at York on Saturday, July 27, with Sky Bet backing all seven races.
"It should prove to be the highlight of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, sponsored by Sky Bet.
"The Sky Bet York Stakes provides a real clash of the generations, with three-year-olds Sangarius and Bangkok set to take on high-class older horses."