Battaash looks a worthy 6/5 favourite with Betway to make a winning return to action and retain his crown in the Group 2 Temple Stakes run over the flying 5f at Haydock on Saturday (16:00).
This Charlie Hills five-year-old has won seven of his 15 starts, and enjoyed his finest hour when putting an awesome display to make making all and easily beating Marsha by four lengths in the 2017 running of the Group 1 Prix De L’Abbaye at Chantilly.
Battaash then made a winning return to action in this 12 months ago when beating Washington DC by a head, plus the re-opposing Kachy and Mabs Cross in-behind in third and fourth respectively.
He was giving 5lb and 8lb respectively to those rivals, but now meets Kachy on level weights and receives 2lb from Mabs Cross – so has nothing to fear on the book from that pair.
The son of Dark Angel then ran well when runner-up to Blue Point in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, before put in a scintillating performance to land the Group 2 King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in runaway style by four lengths from Take Cover in almost track record time.
It’s fair to say that he then disappointed when fourth to Alpha Delphini in the Group 1 Nunthorpe at York, but Battaash quickly bounced back to be beaten just three-quarters of a length into fourth behind Mabs Cross in the Prix De L’Abbaye.
He has since undergone wind surgery, and his rating of 123 gives Battaash 8lb and upwards in hand on his five rivals. It makes him impossible to oppose.
Mabs Cross the obvious danger
Should Battaash fail to live up to expectations, then the aforementioned Mabs Cross, a 3/1 shot with Paddy Power, looks the obvious one to take advantage.
This Michael Dods trained five-year-old mare has won seven of her 14 starts and doesn’t know how to run a bad race.
The daughter of Dutch Art showed a willing attitude to dig deep and beat Judicial by a neck in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket last season, then backed that up with a fine staying on three-quarters of a length fourth to Battaash in this.
Mabs Cross was next beaten only two lengths when a running on third to Blue Point in the Group 1 King’s Stand at Royal Ascot – finishing just a neck behind the runner-up Battaash.
She turned the tables on her old rival when producing a career-best performance to land the Group 1 Prix De L’ Abbaye at Longchamp on her final start of the campaign.
Mabs Cross comes into this having looked as good as ever when winning the Palace House for a second time on seasonal reappearance, but faces a stiff task at the weights as she has to give 2lb to Battaash, who is rated 8lb her superior.
Signora Cabello can prove too strong in Cecil Frail
Signora Cabello shaped nicely on seasonal reappearance, so now eased in grade looks to hold outstanding claims of landing the spoils in the Listed 6f Cecil Frail Stakes (16:35).
This John Quinn trained daughter of Camacho developed into a top class juvenile last season when winning four of her seven starts.
After victories at Bath and York, she showed a tremendous attitude to dig deep and get up in the dying stride and beat Gossamer Wings by a short-head in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Signora Cabello backed that up with another Group 2 success when landing the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte in France where she found plenty for pressure at the business end of affairs to fend off the challenge of Sexy Metro by a neck.
She then ran a cracker in defeat when a three-quarters of a length runner-up to Pretty Pollyanna in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville, when unable to find any extra in the final 70 yards following a ding-dong battle throughout the final furlong.
The form of those races set a clear standard in this, and Signora Cabello comes into it on the back of a highly promising fourth of seven to the hugely exciting Calyx in a Group 3 at Ascot earlier in the month.
She showed plenty of pace to chase the leaders until getting outpaced two from home, before keeping on again to be beaten just over 4 1/2 lengths.
Signora Cabello looks sure to come on a bundle for that outing and an official rating of 112 put her 11lb and upwards clear of her rivals. It makes her the one to be on at 3/1 with Unibet in what is the easiest task she has faced for a long time.
Oasis Prince the Silver Bowl value
In a highly competitive renewal of the Silver Bowl Handicap earlier on the card (14:50), the progressive Oasis Prince looks decent value at 6/1 with Betfair to provide trainer Mark Johnston with a fourth winner in the valuable 1m contest.
Since shaping with promise on debut at Wolverhampton back in March when a tenderly handled fifth of 12 to Jackstar, this three-year-old son of Oasis Dream in unbeaten in three outings.
After winning in good style at Leicester and Beverley, when making all and quickening smartly, Oasis Prince showed tremendous battling qualities to win on handicap debut over this course and distance two weeks go.
He showed plenty of pace to track the pacesetting Harvey Dent and, after being produced to take up the running a furlong from home by Franny Norton, found plenty of pressure to hold off the late challenge of Loch Ness Monster by a head.
It was a most taking display and one which suggested there was even better to come from Oasis Prince.
The assessor may well have been kind in raising him just 4lb for that success to a rating of 92 and, although now 1lb worse off with the re-opposing Loch Ness Monster, he is clearly going the right way and fully expected to confirm the form.
Oasis Prince has also bagged a good low draw in stall five from which to obtain a decent early position, and this track plays to the strengths of horses that like to race up with the pace.
So, with Norton also once again in the saddle, there is simply nothing not to like about the profile of Oasis Prince for this.
Brian Epstein appeals each-way
In a race in which a case can be made for many, Brian Epstein makes plenty of each-way appeal at 20/1 with BetVictor.
This Richard Hannon trained three-year-old son of Dark Angel came good at the third time of asking as a juvenile when staying on well to beat Red October by 1 1/4 lengths at Kempton back in October.
He has had just three starts this season and shaped well in the first of those when a 3 1/4 length fifth of 14 to Aweedram at Newmarket and now meets the winner, who is 7/1 with William Hill for this, on 11lb better terms.
Brian Epstein also ran really well in defeat last time when when going down by just a short-head to Artistic Rifles at Doncaster following a sustained duel throughout the final furlong.
That run suggested there was a decent prize to be won with him, and Bran Epstein now gets the services of the in-from Hayley Turner in the saddle for the first time. In relation to Aweedram, he looks massively overpriced and capable of outrunning his odds.