Royal Ascot is just a few days away and I’ve decided to take a closer look at the King’s Stand Stakes to assess whether Battaash truly is a ‘good thing’.
I’m a huge fan of the sprints, and the King’s Stand is a particular favourite. It’s gone to some of the best over the years. Dayjur won the race as a three-year-old in 1990 and Lochsong as a six-year-old in ‘94. Pivotal was another winner at three, when he landed this prior to the Nunthorpe in 1996. Choisir came over from Australia to win in 2003, and Miss Andretti did the same in 2007. Equiano won twice, in 2008 and 2010. And last year Lady Aurelia became yet another overseas conqueror when romping to a three-length success.
Foreign winners have become common-place in the Royal Ascot sprint with nine non-UK or Irish winners since 2000. Wes Ward brings Lady Aurelia back for another crack having already landed the Queen Mary and the King’s Stand in her two previous visits. She’s an outstanding mare by Scat Daddy and is clearly at her best on quick ground at this time of the year. Her two victories at the track have been spectacular. She’s explosive, with a fast five-furlongs at Ascot absolutely up her street. Money has come for her this week and she now finds herself at the head of the market alongside Battaash.
Charlie Hills couldn’t be happier with his sprinting sensation. He looked a high class three-year-old, when winning the Coral Charge in stunning fashion last July, and then putting in an astounding performance to win the Abbaye at Chantilly. He returned with a solid performance at Haydock to land the Temple Stakes under a penalty. This son of Dark Angel is blessed with blistering speed, though he can become worked-up prior to the off. If behaving himself, his clash with the American mare could prove the highlight of the meeting.
Charlie Appleby can do no wrong and looks set to run Blue Point over the minimum trip. He was a close third to Caravaggio and Harry Angel in last year’s Commonwealth Cup and gave the impression that he could have gone faster earlier. He’s two from three at the track and is undoubtedly a class act. I’m just not sure he has the raw speed to live with Battaash and Lady A.
Kachy is nifty and was ridden aggressively last time when just failing to hold off the late charge of both Battaash and Washington DC at Haydock. He’s been campaigned at both five and six furlongs during his career, but I’m convinced that the King’s Stand will prove ideal. I can’t see him winning, though I can see him running a cracker and landing a place finish.
Washington DC came mighty close to winning the Temple Stakes and ought to be suited by track and trip. He needs fast ground and should be doing his best work late on. He was very disappointing in this race last year, when never looking likely to land a blow before finishing 15th of the 17 runners. I’m far from certain he has the basic speed for this test, and I can see him getting too far back in the pack.
Mabs Cross is a progressive filly and ran well to finish fourth in the Temple last time. She was slow out of the stalls that day, and it’s not the first time that her start has let her down. She’s another that could run into a place though I’d be surprised if she’s quick enough to challenge the market leaders.
Different League could be interesting if coming here. Now with Aidan O’Brien, the three-year-old filly was a high class juvenile and landed the Albany Stakes at last year’s meeting. That looked a tasty renewal and she appeared by far the quickest filly in the field that day. This may well be her trip and her odds of 33/1 could prove generous.
This looks a straight face-off between Battaash and Lady Aurelia and I’m siding with the mare. She’s two from two at the Royal Meeting and has looked sensational on both occasions. I’m convinced that Kachy will run a huge race, and I’ll take him as the each-way punt. I may regret not having a few quid on Different League. She’ll need to improve on what she’s shown so far this season, but if allowed to bowl along towards the head of affairs I’m sure she’ll outrun her odds. This looks a mouth-watering renewal. Enjoy.