Battaash Can Prove Sprint King On Day One Of Royal Ascot
The potential highlight on day one of Royal Ascot is the clash between top speedsters Battaash and US raider Lady Aurelia in the King’s Stand Stakes with the British challenger fancied to come out on top.
US sprinting superstar Lady Aurelia will attempt to win for a third time at Royal Ascot following her victories in the 2016 Queen Mary Stakes and King’s Stand Stakes 12 months later for trainer Wesley Ward. The four-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy ran out an easy three length winner over Profitable in 2017 but looks to face a more formidable rival this year in the Charles Hills-trained Battaash.
The Dark Angel gelding ended last season as the best sprinter in Europe, running out a hugely impressive four length winner of the Group 1 Prix de L’Abbaye at Chantilly on Arc day, his fourth victory from five starts in 2017. The only defeat for the mount of Jim Crowley coming in the Nunthorpe at York when only fourth behind Marsha, Lady Aurelia and Cotai Glory.
Battaash lost that race before it even began as he became very upset in the preliminaries and patently failed to show his form in the five furlong contest. That was not the case on his next outing in France however when he comprehensively overturned the form with Marsha who, while finishing a highly creditable second, could make no impression whatsoever on the all-the-way victor.
In the hands of Dane O’Neill Battaash just got the better of Washington D.C. and Kachy on his seasonal reappearance at Haydock but was giving 5lb to both of those rivals and is sure to improve with that run under his belt.
With connections well aware now that Battaash needs to be taken to post as late as possible there should be no reproduction of his antics on the Knavesmire and at the 5-2 available with Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power can get the better of the chief danger from the other side of the Atlantic. A 33-1 chance with Boylesports, Finsbury Flyer can prove best of the rest for jockey Olivier Peslier.