Second in the race for the past two seasons to the now-retired Blue Point, Charlie Hills’ speedster is reappearing after a rare below-par run in the Prix de l’Abbaye when he was last seen.
The surprise winner of that race, Kevin Ryan’s Glass Slippers, is among his rivals as is John Quinn’s filly Liberty Beach, who has the benefit of a recent run under her belt.
Battaash demolished his rivals in the Nunthorpe at York last year
The first Group One action of the afternoon is the Queen Anne Stakes which has attracted a huge field of 16, headed by Aidan O’Brien’s Circus Maximus.
Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum holds a strong hand with Mustashry, Turjomaan and Mohaather.
John Gosden’s Terebellum will have the assistance of Frankie Dettori, with Billesdon Brook and last year’s Jersey Stakes winner Space Traveller others in the mix.
The meeting opens with the Buckingham Palace Stakes, in which 27 runners are headed by Gosden and Dettori’s representative Daarik, one of four runners for Hamdam Al Maktoum again, with retained jockey Jim Crowley on Motakhayyel.
Gosden and Dettori supply the favourite in the Ribblesdale Stakes with Frankly Darling, a very impressive winner on her reappearance at Newcastle on the day racing resumed.
Stablemate Miss Yoda, winner of the Oaks Trial at Lingfield, Ralph Beckett’s Trefoil and O’Brien’s Ennistymon are all among a field of 12.
Only six have been declared for the King Edward VII Stakes with O’Brien’s Mogul set to go off a short price.
David Simcock’s Mohican Heights and William Muir’s Pyledriver are among the select field.
Crowley teams up with Gosden to ride Nazeef in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, while Dettori dons the silks of his old bosses at Al Shaqab Racing to ride Wasmya for French trainer Francis Graffard.
William Haggas’ unbeaten Miss O Connor, Amanda Perrett’s Lavender’s Blue and Sir Michael Stoute’s Jubiloso ensure there is plenty of strength in depth.
The card is brought to a close with the Ascot Stakes over almost two and a half miles, where Nicky Henderson’s classy hurdler Verdana Blue heads the weights with Ryan Moore booked.
UNBEATEN PIERRE LAPIN AMONG COMMONWEALTH ENTRIES
Leading fancies Pierre Lapin and Kimari lead the way among a 20-strong entry for Friday’s Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
Pierre Lapin won both his starts for Roger Varian last term, including the Mill Reef, while the Wes Ward-trained Kimari was narrowly beaten in the Queen Mary at this meeting last year before going on to finish fourth at the Breeders’ Cup.
French raider Wooded made quite a splash when winning his trial event at Chantilly last month, with Millisle possibly making a quick return to action for Jessica Harrington having disappointed in last week’s 1000 Guineas.
Mums Tipple finished last in the 2000 Guineas and could drop back in trip for Richard Hannon, while Karl Burke’s Dubai Station arrives on the back of victory in a trial event at Newcastle.
Aidan O’Brien has four to pick from, including Irish 2,000 Guineas third Lope Y Fernandes, with Clive Cox’s Golden Horde another leading hope.
The Hardwicke Stakes has 17 entries, topped by last year’s winner Defoe, who is also trained by Varian.
O’Brien’s Anthony Van Dyck is an eyecatching contender after finishing second in last week’s Coronation Cup.
There are no less than 11 first-time-out winners among 20 entries for the Albany Stakes, while the Norfolk Stakes has 26 contenders, including O’Brien’s Admiral Nelson who was an impressive winner at the Curragh on Friday.
The Queen’s Vase features the likes of Al Dabaran and Born With Pride among 15 entries, with the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes has 45 possibles.
The opening Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap has 26 contenders, including Newcastle scorer Art Power.
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