Top Notch added to QEII field
Brian Ellison and owner Keith Brown have decided the opportunity to try Top Notch Tonto on soft ground at Ascot in Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is too good to pass up.
- Related Content
It was not a risk-free strategy, as it cost £70,000 to add the in-form chestnut to a 17-strong field which contains most of Europe's established Group One milers, but a further deterioration in conditions underfoot would swell their confidence.
The gelded son of Thousand Words changed hands for just 3,000 euros as a yearling and after a promising juvenile season with Ian McInnes, he has made further progress since joining Ellison in mid-summer and chases a hat-trick after winning a Group Three at Haydock and a recent Listed race at Redcar.
"I left it to the owner, I said 'It's your money so you had better make the decision'," said Ellison.
"The ground is right for him, and I just hope it keeps raining really. We thought about waiting and trying him in a Group race next year, but when would he get his ground?
"We'll take our chance, and there might be a few to drop out yet."
Among those likely to fall away if the ground remains easy could be Sussex Stakes winner Toronado, as the Richard Hannon camp have already warned he could be diverted to the Breeders' Cup and that Olympic Glory would be their more likely runner.
As Hannon chases the trainers' title again, it would appear that Sky Lantern would head instead for the Champion Stakes if she runs on the card at all.
Dawn Approach, the 2000 Guineas and St James's Palace winner, looks set to make his first appearance since a disappointing effort at Deauville in August.
He carries the blue colours of Godolphin, whose Lockinge hero Farhh is also doubly entered on Saturday.
The Group One stars do not end there, as Jonathan Pease has confirmed his Prix du Moulin winner Maxios and Tom Hogan has done the same with the remarkable Gordon Lord Byron.
Mike de Kock's great hope Soft Falling Rain, who looked so good at Newmarket last time, is still in the line-up along with John Gosden's superb filly Elusive Kate and her stablemate Gregorian.
Aidan O'Brien has Declaration Of War, Kingsbarns and Magician still in the frame.
Burwaaz, Caspar Netscher and Dawn Approach's frequent pacemaker Leitir Mor complete the field.