A respiratory infection will force Postponed out of the King George.

A respiratory infection will force Postponed out of the King George.

Mathea Kelley/Dubai Racing Club

Wings of Desire Set for King George Try

With last year's winner Postponed out, Wings of Desire's chances improve.

With a respiratory infection knocking last year's winner Postponed from the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I), Wings of Desire figures among nine remaining runners confirmed for the 1 1/2-mile test July 23 at Ascot.

Wings of Desire, a full brother to last year's close runner-up Eagle Top, was well-supported for the Investec Epsom Derby (Eng-I), having landed the Dante Stakes (Eng-II) at York in May. The son of Pivotal ran an excellent race at Epsom Downs to finish fourth behind Harzand.

France-based Erupt was recently runner-up in the Grand-Prix de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I) for trainer Francis-Henri Graffard. The 4-year-old son of Dubawi was successful last season in the Grand Prix de Paris (Fr-I) and also ran excellent races when fifth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) and sixth in the Japan Cup (Jpn-I).

Alan Cooper, racing manager to Erupt's owner/breeder the Niarchos family, said Erupt pleased jockey Stephane Pasquier in a morning gallop. "All being well, (he) will travel over," Cooper said. "He takes a little time to get fit and with the very wet spring, Francis has struggled a bit with him.

"With the warmer weather now, the good ground has come and the horse is beginning to thrive. He is a group I winner over a mile and a half at Longchamp, although it will be a step up for him at Ascot. It looks a superb race."

Ireland's champion trainer Aidan O'Brien has three entries going forward headed by 4-year-old Highland Reel, winner last year of the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) in the United States and the Longines Hong Kong Vase (HK-I) and the runner-up by just a head to Dartmouth in the Hardwicke Stakes.

The two other runners from Ballydoyle confirmed for the race are Sir Isaac Newton, winner of the listed Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot before taking the International Stakes (Ire-III) at the Curragh, and Shogun.

Also going forward are trainer John Gosden's Western Hymn, who put up his best performance this season when third in the Prince of Wales's Stakes (Eng-I) at 10 furlongs at the Royal meet; and Second Step who won in group I company in Germany last year for trainer Luca Cumani.