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Royal Ascot winners set for York Stakes showdown

Royal Ascot winners Mohaafeth and Juan Elcano could face Irish challenger Armory in an intriguing renewal of the Sky Bet York Stakes.

Following his late withdrawal from the Cazoo Derby at Epsom in early June, the William Haggas-trained Mohaafeth made it four from four for the season in the Hampton Court Stakes at last month’s showpiece meeting.

Kevin Ryan’s Juan Elcano, meanwhile, bounced back from a disappointing run of results with victory in the Wolferton Stakes under Andrea Atzeni, who believes he will have plenty in his favour on the Knavesmire this weekend.

He said: “He won nicely at Ascot on fast ground, which hopefully he’ll get on Saturday – that is what he wants.

“I think an easy mile and a quarter at York will suit him perfectly. Obviously our fellow has got to improve again, but I’m sure he will have done and it was great to get his head in front the last day.

“He’s a horse we always thought a lot of. Like I said, he needs to take another step forward, but if he does he should be very competitive.”

Armory winning the Huxley Stakes at Chester
Armory winning the Huxley Stakes at Chester (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The highest-rated horse in the field is Armory, who could bid to provide trainer Aidan O’Brien with a first York Stakes success after finishing a close-up third behind his esteemed stablemate Love in last month’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

Haggas has also entered talented miler Montatham, who could test the water over 10 furlongs for the first time in Saturday’s Group Two feature.

Andrew Balding’s Bangkok and Ebury from Scott Dixon’s yard are the other hopefuls.