The Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup has taken a body blow with the withdrawal of top-rated Irish galloper Cape Blanco.
The Dubai World Cup fourth placegetter and dual Group One winner has made way for the John Moore-trained Destined For Glory after trainer Aidan O'Brien decided not to make the trip from Dubai.
'He was due to arrive on Wednesday and I think the connections felt that maybe that was cutting things a bit fine,' Jockey Club executive director of racing Bill Nader said last night. 'It's shame because he would have been the first 126-rated horse ever to run in the QE II but the horse's trainer felt that it was better to play safe with the horse rather than put him in a difficult position.'
The race will still feature four foreign runners in Dubai World Cup winner Victoire Pisa, sixth-placed Gitano Hernando and the minor placegetters from the Dubai Duty Free, River Jetez and Wigmore Hall.
The BMW Champions Mile has also been hit with a withdrawal from among the visitors with Red Jazz, owned by former Jockey Club chairman Ronald Arculli, coming out of the race.
'Red Jazz has an injury - a quarter crack - so he won't make the trip,' said Nader.
The first and second emergencies - Good Ba Ba and Let Me Fight - have already been called on to replace scratchings Mufarrh and Melito from the Champions Mile, so the withdrawal of Red Jazz will get the recent Hong Kong Macau trophy winner, Sparkling Power, a start in the Group One mile.
The three scratchings from the overseas runners for the Champions Mile have cut the race down from the best foreign response for the race in its short history to just three overseas-trained runners now - Presvis, Musir and Royal Bench.