Charlie Hills’ brilliant sprinter has made Friday’s Group Two race his own for the past three seasons, and is unbeaten at the Sussex track.
This time, he arrives on the back of his first Royal Ascot victory, having won the Group One King’s Stand Stakes with commanding authority last month.
The six-year-old is sure to be short odds to follow up, but does face significant rivals, in the shape especially of the fillies Glass Slippers and Liberty Beach.
Kevin Ryan’s Glass Slippers completed a sprint hat-trick in France last autumn, culminating in the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp in October – when Battaash had a rare off day in a distant 14th of 16.
However, on their respective seasonal returns, she was no match for Battaash at Ascot – finishing fifth, almost six lengths adrift.
Liberty Beach got closer in third, having already won a Listed race at Haydock this season before subsequently going on to finish a sound second in Sandown’s Group Three Coral Charge.
Also taking on Battaash are Simon and Ed Crisford’s filly Al Raya and Karl Burke’s Dubai Station – like Liberty Beach, both three-year-olds – outsider Ornate from David Griffiths’ yard and French challenger Ken Colt, for Fabrice Chappet.
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