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Royal Ascot Day One Preview: Will this be Battaash’s year?

We look over the highlights from today’s card

As Royal Ascot returns for a behind closed-doors showcase, we preview the day’s biggest races ahead of the action. 

With seven races in total, we begin the five-day meeting with two Group 1 races, including the wide-open Queen Anne Stakes and a compelling field in the King’s Stand Stakes, where an unruly but rapid sprinter has everything to prove…

Running order:

13.15 Buckingham Palace Handicap

13.50 The Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1)

14.25 The Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2)

15.00 The King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2)

15:35 The King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1)

16:10 The Duke of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2)

16:40 The Ascot Stakes (Handicap)

13.50 The Queen Anne Stakes

After winning the St James’s Palace and Prix du Moulin, Aidan O’Brien’s Circus Maximus will take some beating going into the first of Ascot’s Group 1 races, although the Queen Anne Stakes has become known for big price outsiders upsetting the odds.

With a drop in trip and Frankie Dettori riding, Terebellum too has form going into this one, after winning the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on her debut run this season.

The progressive Fox Chairman is tipped for a promising year if the four-year-old can continue to improve, though he was beaten last year by Circus Maximus in the Dee Stakes at Chester.

Mustashry is a longer-price option after a disappointing seventh in this race last year, but Group 2 wins at Newbury and Newmarket last season have suggested a horse capable of far better.

15.00 The King Edward VII Stakes

A shortened field of just six will compete in the King Edward VII, after being moved to accommodate the Epsom Derby delay. Mogul is the favourite here, after an impressive juvenile career, though a fourth-placed finish in the Futurity Stakes in November may have dampened expectations somewhat.

The unbeaten Mohican Heights is something of an unknown quantity at this level, but it’s thought the trip will suit the three-year-old.

Mogul’s stablemate Arthur’s Kingdom is another who could be suited to the trip and looked very capable as the runner-up in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud back in October last year.

15:35 The King’s Stand Stakes

The short-priced Battaash possesses pace to burn, although questions linger about the six-year-old’s temperament. He has yet to win at Ascot, with two second-placed finishes in the 2018 and 2019 renewals, but with rival Blue Point out of the equation there’s no-one in the field who can match the sprinter for pure pace.

Glass Slippers was hugely impressive in her Group 1 outing in the Prix de l’Abbaye last October, showcasing progression at the last time of asking– and beating Battaash in the process.

Equilateral showed a marked improvement after being gelded prior to a trip at Meydan back in January, though he only managed second place when returning in February as a 1/2 favourite. He’s unlikely to match Battaash if the latter performs to the standard he’s capable of.

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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication