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Battaash heads 16 contenders for King George honours at Goodwood

Battaash will face a maximum of 15 rivals in his pursuit of a remarkable fifth successive King George Qatar Stakes at Goodwood.

Charlie Hills’ record-breaking sprinter was joined among the six-day confirmations for Friday’s Group Two feature by Kevin Ryan’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint heroine and dual European Group One winner Glass Slippers – who was also runner-up in this race 12 months ago.

Ryan’s mare has not run since her victory at Keeneland last November – while Battaash also made a late start to his campaign, after a winter setback, when he managed only fourth as he sought to retain his King’s Stand title at Royal Ascot last month.

Also in potential opposition this time are Archie Watson’s three-year-old Dragon Symbol, second in both Royal Ascot’s Commonwealth Cup and then the July Cup at Newmarket.

David Griffiths’ Ornate and John Quinn’s filly Liberty Beach, third and fourth respectively in last year’s King George Stakes and behind Battaash again when down the field in the King’s Stand, may also both try again.

Quinn could also be represented by Keep Busy, while Tim Easterby’s pair of Winter Power and Art Power are further contenders of note.

The two Group Threes on the card are the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Glorious Stakes and the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes.

David Simcock’s nine-year-old Desert Encounter won the former in 2019 and was second 12 months ago to William Haggas’ Pablo Escobarr. Both may return, among 22 remaining possibles – which include another for Simcock, Oriental Mystique.

Also in the reckoning are Jim Goldie’s in-form evergreen Euchen Glen and this month’s York Group Three scorer Hukum, for Owen Burrows – while Aidan O’Brien’s Group One winner Mogul may drop down in class.

The unbeaten Baaeed, for Haggas and Battaash and Hukum’s owners Shadwell Estate, takes the eye among 13 three-year-olds in the Thoroughbred Stakes.

In potential opposition are Shadwell’s Mutasaabeq, for Hills, Roger Varian’s El Drama and Charlie Appleby’s pair La Barrosa and One Ruler.