Battaash can foil transatlantic raider Lady Aurelia by claiming the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, the feature event on day three day of the Ebor meeting at York.
Lady Aurelia certainly looked a world-beater when cruising home in the King’s Stand at Ascot – as she did 12 months ago in the Queen Mary – and Charlie Hills’ Battaash will have a battle on his hands in this Group One prize.
However, the three-year-old has been progressing at a rate of knots this term and, perhaps crucially given the vagaries of the British weather at the moment, he has proven he can handle pretty much any ground while Lady Aurelia is possibly more at home on a sound surface.
Battaash has graduated from a Sandown Listed win back in June to a bloodless Group Three at the Esher, before landing the King George at Goodwood at the start of the month.
That last performance was particularly impressive, easily accounting for a number of reopposing rivals as he picked up on really testing ground to run out a two-and-a-quarter-length winner.
Battaash needs to raise his game again on what is the biggest ask of his career so far, but the Dark Angel gelding can do just that.
Escobar is worth a chance in the Sky Bet City of York Stakes following a satisfactory return at Goodwood.
Hugo Palmer has always held the son of Famous Name in high regard but he has fallen short on the big days so far, with a gelding operation obviously expected to help sharpen his focus.
He put in a promising effort following that procedure when running fifth at a similar level in Sussex, racing a bit keenly before failing to find the gaps when needed.
Escobar was having his first start since Royal Ascot back in June that day, so he should progress a bit for the run and can make his presence felt.
William Haggas could have a good day on the Knavesmire with Dal Harraild and Al Neksh both holding strong claims.
Dal Harraild lines up in the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup following a fair, if not sparkling effort, when sixth in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot.
Having previously won over a mile and six furlongs at York, the four-year-old had no answer as his rivals hit top gear that day but a step back up in trip in this event should be to his advantage and he is still very unexposed.
Al Neksh was found to have bled from the nose after disappointing at Newmarket, but he is worth another shot in the Sky Bet First Race Special Handicap.
He had previously finished second to a particularly well-treated Master Carpenter at this track back in May and a return to that level would put him in the mix.
While all eyes will be on York, it is worth taking a quick check on how Kazeera fares in the first division of the TRM Excellence In Equine Nutrition EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes at Newmarket.
As a full-sister to multiple Group One winner Al Kazeem, she is certainly bred to do the job and is one to watch on her racecourse bow.
TURF TALK TIPS
GOODWOOD: 5.10 Jashma, 5.40 Bowditch, 6.15 Beringer, 6.45 Imphal, 7.15 Dubara, 7.45 Another Boy.
HAMILTON: 5.30 Corton Lass, 6.05 Buckstopper Kit, 6.35 Tesko Fella, 7.05 Rutherford, 7.35 Sepal, 8.05 Cheeni.
NEWMARKET: 1.35 Kazeera, 2.05 Briscola, 2.40 Fastar, 3.15 Airglow, 3.45 Torcello, 4.50 Watchman, 4.55 Notice, 5.25 Glenamoy Lad.
SALISBURY: 5.15 Swot, 5.50 Beyond Equal, 6.20 Strategic, 6.55 Watheer, 7.25 Limelite, 7.55 The Twisler.
YORK: 1.55 Al Neksh (treble), 2.25 Dal Harraild, 3.00 Escobar (next best), 3.35 BATTAASH (NAP), 4.15 Doswell, 4.50 Syphax.