Battaash on track to defend King’s Stand crown

Battaash is on course to defend his King’s Stand Stakes crown at Royal Ascot after showing his well-being following an injury setback sustained over the winter.

The seven-year-old returned to Charlie Hills’ stables in Lambourn last month from his owners Shadwell Stud, having recovered from a small fracture.

Hills has been pleased with Battaash and is looking forward to seeing what Shadwell’s number two jockey Dane O’Neill says after he rides the horse in work on Wednesday.

“Battaash has been back with us a few weeks now. He’s been in training and did a nice swinging canter last week. We’re very happy with him,” said Hills on Tuesday.

“He should get to Ascot. I can’t see any reason why he wouldn’t.

“Dane O’Neill is coming to sit on him tomorrow morning. He knows him very well so it will be interesting to see what he says.”

Battaash powers to victory under Jim Crowley at Royal Ascot
Battaash powers to victory under Jim Crowley at Royal Ascot (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Royal Ascot also looks the destination for Mutasaabeq after he lost his unbeaten record in the 2000 Guineas.

The Invincible Spirit colt is set to drop back to seven furlongs for the Group Three Jersey Stakes.

Mutasaabeq had won both his starts over that trip in highly-promising fashion to warrant a run in the Newmarket Classic, for which he was sent off joint third-favourite at 6-1.

However, he could not justify that support and finished seventh behind Poetic Flare.

Mutasaabeq remains a horse of real potential
Mutasaabeq remains a horse of real potential (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He’s absolutely fine. He came out of the race in good form. He’s looking well and training nicely,” said Hills.

“I’ll speak to (racing mangers) Angus (Gold) and Richard (Hills) to draw up a plan, but I’d say the Jersey looks favourite.”

Mutasaabeq also holds an entry in the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes over a mile at the Royal meeting.

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