MAGICAL and Mishriff are two of 16 horses confirmed for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
The brilliant mare Magical provided Aidan O’Brien with his first first victory in the 10-furlong showpiece 12 months ago, and will return to Berkshire after successfully defending her crown in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
O’Brien could also call upon Japan, Sovereign, Mogul and Derby winner Serpentine. Magical retains an entry in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes on the same card.
The John Gosden-trained Mishriff has emerged as a top-class colt this summer, claiming classic glory in the Prix du Jockey at Chantilly before returning to France to win the Group Two Prix Guillaume d’Ornano in August.
Gosden could also saddle Lord North, who was a runaway winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and was last seen finishing third behind Ghaiyyath and Magical in the Juddmonte International at York.
The William Haggas-trained Addeybb was runner-up to Magical in last year’s renewal and will return in a bid to go one better.
Other contenders include William Muir’s St Leger third Pyledriver, possible French challenger Skalleti and Saeed bin Suroor’s Benbatl, who is also entered in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.