MUTAMAASIK was most progressive as a three-year-old, making it four wins on the bounce when successful on his final start at Doncaster in September.
Already verging on smart, he remains potentially well treated from a BHA mark of 100 and is fancied to take this competitive handicap on his way to bigger and better things.
Owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum has a strong hand with both Motakhayyel (the choice of Jim Crowley) and Daarek also having plenty to recommend them, while Shelir is one who could go well at longer odds.
FOX CHAIRMAN came a long way in a short space of time last season and has the makings of one who could go right to the top in 2020, with further improvement on the cards.
The son of Kingman has raced exclusively over 1m and a quater since debut success over this trip, but he clearly isn’t devoid of pace and a strongly-run race at this stiff track should bring his stamina into play anyway.
Circus Maximus and Mustashry look the pick of the four previous Group 1 winners in the line-up, while the improving Terebellum is another who cannot be discounted for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori.
FRANKLY DARLING created such a good impression on her return at Newcastle that she is strongly fancied to take this significant step up in grade in her stride.
Indeed, her strength at the finish last time suggests the extra two furlongs here will see her to even better effect, and, already as short as 8/1 for the Oaks, she could soon be challenging for favouritism if putting in another big performance in this Group 2.
Stablemate Miss Yoda can boast less scope for improvement, but is feared most ahead of Trefoil.
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MOGUL is another horse putting his classic credentials to the test, when lining up in a race won by his brother Japan 12 months ago.
Admittedly, Mogul failed to meet market expectations when only fourth on his final two-year-old start in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Newcastle, but he still sets the standard on Timeform ratings and is very much the type to flourish now tackling middle-distances.
Currently an 8/1-shot for the Derby at Epsom, he can establish himself as the pick of Aidan O’Brien’s team for that race with victory here, leaving stablemate Arthur’s Kingdom and Mohican Heights to complete the shortlist.
BATTAASH hasn’t been at his very best on two previous visits to Ascot for this race, with the stiff track seemingly not playing to his strengths so much as the likes of Goodwood and York.
Nevertheless, he still showed high-class form to chase home Blue Point 12 months ago, and, with nothing of that rival’s calibre in opposition here, Battaash can probably afford to be a bit below his best and still land the spoils in the process of recording the third Group 1 win of his brilliant career.
Glass Slippers, who is the only other previous Group 1 winner in the field, and Liberty Beach are fancied to emerge as the chief threats.
NAZEEF had a bit in hand when extending her winning sequence to four at Kempton two weeks ago, making light of a nine-month absence as she quickened smartly to beat Billesdon Brook by three quarters of a length in what was a deep Listed heat.
She may yet prove capable of better and is certainly well worth her place in this higher grade, with the form of that latest effort giving her a clear edge over Miss O Connor and Jubiloso on Timeform ratings.
Lavender’s Blue is another unexposed sort with the potential to play a hand in the finish.
VERDANA BLUE makes most appeal here for Nicky Henderson, one of several National Hunt trainers to have plundered this prize in recent years.
A Grade 1 winner over hurdles, she is unlikely to lack for fitness and might be up to giving weight and a beating to this lot from a BHA mark of 100, with the booking of Ryan Moore also catching the eye.
Summer Moon is a big threat judged on his Cesarewitch effort, while the progressive Moon King is also feared.
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