Royal Ascot gets underway on Tuesday, and Battaash is among the horses capable of wowing returning fans.
Battaash is looking to prevail in the King’s Stand at 3.40pm. Other horses to look out for on Tuesday include Palace Pier and Elysian Flame.
Here, Sportsmail’s Sam Turner provides his tips for the day’s racing.
Battaash, ridden by Jim Crowley, is capable of wowing spectators as Royal Ascot starts
2.30 – Queen Anne Stakes – Group One – 1 mile
As the pre-eminent miler in Europe it is difficult to envisage PALACE PIER being beaten if he runs to anywhere near his optimum. Official ratings have the selection 5lb in hand of nearest rival Order Of Australia and, with the exception of Lady Bowthorpe, he routed a Lockinge Stakes field which included Top Rank (3rd), Lord Glitters (4th), Lope Y Fernandez (8th) and Pogo (11th).
He won’t be much of a price unfortunately, but a reproduction of that performance should be enough to ensure a fourth Group One success.
Given Palace Pier is likely to start odds-on, the likes of Sir Busker and Bless Him (form figures of 317114132 with Jamie Spencer on board) make each-way appeal given their excellent track records. The former was less than a length behind Palace Pier in the QEII last October so looks a tall price, while Bless Him is 2-3 on the straight track at Tueaday’s venue.
SELECTION: PALACE PIER
DANGER: SIR BUSKER
It is difficult to envisage Palace Pier being beaten if he runs to anywhere near his optimum
3.05 – Coventry Stakes – Group Two – 6 furlongs
A terrifically competitive renewal complicated by the presence of an American market leader in Kaufymaker who made short work of five rivals at Keeneland (dirt) on her debut in April.
Apparently she is extremely well regarded, but the home team look strong with DHABAB and Gisburn already confirmed as talented colts, while The Acropolis made a giant step forward on his second start at Listowel. Narrow preference is for Dhabab, who appears nicely drawn and can make his presence felt.
DANGER: THE ACROPOLIS
3.40 – King’s Stand – Group One – 5 furlongs
Battaash is currently unbeatable on his first start of the season and looks to boast major claims of defending his crown. The return of crowds may not be ideal for a horse which can sometimes be excitable, however the selection’s trainer believes his star sprinter is maturing.
Victories following absences of 230, 237, 253 and 254 days are evidence he is a dish best served fresh. Liberty Beach was third 12 months ago, while King’s Lynn and Arecibo are capable of filling the frame at big prices.
DANGER: LIBERTY BEACH
Libery Beach, who finished third 12 months ago, is capable of causing problems for Battaash
4.20 – St James’s Palace Stakes – Group One – 7 furlongs
Poetic Flare is already on the verge of his fifth start of an industrious campaign and, although he is reported to boast an iron constitution, it is quite a task to keep peaking in Group One company.
To win an English Guineas (Lucky Vega 3rd, CHINDIT 5th among others), tackle the French version and be beaten narrowly by his stablemate in Ireland represents a terrific achievement but he is reluctantly overlooked in preference for Chindit. The selection, who has been trained specifically for this assignment, can reverse placings with Poetic Flare and Lucky Vega.
DANGER: LUCKY VEGA
5.00 – Ascot Stakes – Handicap – 2 miles 3 furlongs
It could be a pointless exercise trying to take on three Willie Mullins contenders in a race he has won four times in the past decade, on three occasions with Ryan Moore aboard.
However, ELYSIAN FLAME ran better than his finishing position suggested at Chester last time and could be worth siding with at tasty morning odds. The selection had previously held off a classy rival in Almighwar at Newbury (6l back to Rochester House in 3rd) and should enjoy Tuesday’s test. A case can be made for all three Mullins runners with M C Muldoon arguably holding the strongest claims.
SELECTION: ELYSIAN FLAME
DANGER: M C MULDOON
5.35 – Wolferton Stakes – Listed – 1 miles 1 furlong – Nap
The form of the Windsor contest won by SOLID STONE has taken a number of boosts with the 2nd, 4th and 5th all winning subsequently and he could prove the answer to a tricky race.
The selection should enjoy a good tow into the race courtesy of likely front-runners Palavecino and Victory Chime and fingers crossed he is in the right place to strike turning for home. Patrick Sarsfield arguably wouldn’t mind a shower given the majority of his form is with cut in the ground.
SELECTION: SOLID STONE
DANGER: PATRICK SARSFIELD
6.10 – Copper Horse Stakes – Handicap – 6 furlongs
The presence of classy hurdler Saldier muddies the waters as he was highly impressive on his first start on the level for four years at Listowel.
This looks a much stronger affair though and the bookmakers are unlikely to miss his chance so GLOBAL STORM, 3rd in a hot handicap at this meeting 12 months ago, gains the nod following his victory in a decent Newmarket handicap last time. Arthurian Fable was an eye-catching fourth at HQ and should appreciate the better ground today.
SELECTION: GLOBAL STORM (nb)
DANGER: ARTHURIAN FABLE
2.30 Palace Pier
5.00 Elysian Flame
5.35 SOLID STONE (nap)
6.10 Global Storm (nb)
2.30 Palace Pier (nb)
4.20 LUCKY VEGA (nap)
5.00 Elysian Flame
NEWMARKET – 4.20 MOSTAHDAF (nap); 5.35 Solid Stone (nb).
NORTHERNER – 3.40 WINTER POWER (nap); 6.10 Themaxwecan (nb).