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Ormonde Stakes Preview: Hill the Star act

The Sir Michael Stoute trained Hillstar takes a drop in class and looks to hold all the aces in this 1m 5f contest (2.45).

The colt was a progressive sort last season, starting life off in handicaps before landing the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot in good style from Battle of Marengo.

The son of Danehill Dancer then ran a cracker to finish a staying on third to Noveslist in the Group 1 King George, and was far from disgraced in two subsequent starts in the same grade behind the very smart Declaration Of War and Farhh.

That form sets a high standard for his rivals to aim at, and although Hillstar was well beaten on his return to action this season in the Dubai World Cup this represents a significant drop in grade and a superb opportunity for the four-year-old to get back to winning ways.

Although soft ground is probably not ideal, Hillstar has won on it and in Ryan Moore has a jockey in the saddle who has been on fire on the first two day’s of this meeting.

Mount Athos won the race 12 months ago when trained by Luca Cumani and may well prove the biggest danger to Hillstar.

Now in the care of Marco Botti, the gelding is a very useful performer on his day and finished third in last year’s Melbourne Cup.

The seven-year-old comes into this contest on the back of two solid efforts in Meydan in March, and looks sure to make a bold bid to retain his crown.

Brown Panther is the other runner in the line-up who cannot be discounted.

Trained locally by Tom Dascombe, the six-year-old is a smart middle distance stayer who looked as good as ever when winning his first two starts last season.

The son of Shirocco finished a highly creditable eighth in the Melbourne Cup when last seen in action, has winning form at the track and handles testing conditions.

However, like Mount Athos, he is not getting any younger and will find it hard to beat an on-song Hillstar who remains relatively lightly-raced and open to further progression this season.