Well-supported Gold Cup contender Trueshan is "very unlikely" to line-up in Thursday's feature race at Royal Ascot, according to trainer Alan King.
The six-year-old, who was 5-2 favourite with Coral bookmakers for the two-and-a-half-mile Group One contest, had drifted to 9-2 on Sunday morning, with the forecast set fair for the next few days.
The ground at Ascot was described as good to firm, good in places on Sunday and, with no sign of rain in the forecast before the conclusion of the five-day meeting, coupled with drying winds and soaring temperatures, King feels Trueshan will not get his preferred soft-ground.
"I am hugely concerned about the ground and I can't see any rain coming either, looking at all the forecasts," said King.
"We might hang on in there, but if the forecast is right, I can't see us running."
Trueshan landed the Group One Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp in October and followed up with success in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot.
He advertised his Gold Cup credentials upon his return to action at Nottingham in April, but needs ease underfoot to show his best.
Kind added: "It is frustrating, but last year the ground came right for us at Goodwood, in France and at Ascot later in the year.
"Ascot should be run on fast ground, it is high summer at the end of the day.
"But if I call it wrong once, I could finish him. We are going to try to get it right.
"We have to try to get it right. It will be a last-minute call, but I would say he is very unlikely to run."
The field could be further reduced as connections of Scope, who won the Listed Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot before taking the Group One Prix Royal-Oak at ParisLongchamp in October, have also intimated he will be held back.
The Ralph Beckett-trained four-year-old, who finished runner-up to to Ilaraab on his return to action in the Group Three Aston Park Stakes at Newbury last month, also needs cut in the ground.
Currently 6-1 fourth favourite behind the Aidan O'Brien-trained Kyprios and the John and Thady Gosden-trained Stradivarius, who seeks a fourth win in the race, Scope is similarly unlikely to take his place in the line-up.
Sarah Richmond-Watson, who bred and owns the colt with her husband Julian, said: "It is all rain-dependent. There is a doubt he will run, I'm afraid. We are very disappointed.
"We have got a big future with that horse and there are lots of good races coming up and there is no point breaking him early.
"Looking at the forecast, it seems unlikely he will run."