Trainer Charlie Appleby says Hawkbill has every right to be entered into Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.
Another star-studded line-up will compete for the coveted Group 1 event in Surrey and Masar, one of two horses in the race trained by Appleby, is the widespread favourite to land the spoils.
Many have suggested stablemate Hawkbill, who triumphed in the 2016 edition, has only been entered to act as a pacemaker and has no real chance of winning.
However, Appleby has refuted these claims and insists his charge has every chance of coming out victorious for the second time.
“He’s a previous winner of the race and he’s there genuinely on his merits,” said the Newmarket handler. “People will say he’s only there for a pace angle, but if something else wants to go on we’re quite happy to take a lead with Hawkbill.
“Having said that, if there isn’t much pace on we know what Hawkbill is good at, so we’ll see. He’s in good order and if he’s on his A-game I think he’ll test the three-year-olds, which is what it’s all about.”