As the racing community prepares for the highly anticipated five-day Royal Ascot racing festival, Smarkets called on the expertise of three of the sports leading writers and tipsters to discuss the event.

One of the most eagerly awaited runners at the event is Battaash, trained by William Hill brand ambassador Charlie Hills – who has come in as the bookies favourite for the King’s Stand Stakes at 9/4.

When asked by Jess Stafford of Racing TV if there are any ‘chinks in his armour’ after returning from an injury, Tom Collins, Tipster for the Racing Post, gave his opinion on Battaash’s chances, arguing that he is the horse the bookies should be wary of.

“There’s always a doubt when a horse comes back off an injury, you don’t know if they’re going to be the same proposition, especially given that Battaash has been competing at the highest level for plenty of years, it seems like he’s been around for ages,” the tipster began.

He was well fancied in this race in 2018 and 2019 being my blue point on both occasions, however he broke the Ascot hoodoo last year when he won this race and showed that sytilating early speed. 

“I’d be surprised if he loses here, though I wouldn’t necessarily be rushing to back him, it’s just that I looked at the race and I couldn’t really find a better bet in the race. I think he’s a clear stand out.”

James Milman, also of Racing TV, agreed with Collins, adding that the ‘opposition is weak’ in the King’s Stand Stakes, describing the race in general as being ‘weak’, but also acknowledged that Battaash will face more challenges than before.

“With the injury, they weren’t entirely sure he was going to make this race, so you’ve got to be a little bit worried about whether he is at peak fitness. He had a stiff finish at Ascot before, you’ve got a little bit of doubt in your mind.”

Milman’s main choice for the King’s Stand Stakes, in contrast, was Winter Power, coming in at 23/5, meaning a higher return for punters, but of course meaning that the operators face handing out a bigger payout if the Racing TV pundit is correct.

He further noted that Winter Power ‘burned home at York’ and has ‘run consistent as a two year old,’ whilst a ‘question mark’ remains over Bataash due to ‘stiff finish’ in the his first run of the season, as well as an advanced age for a racehorse at seven years old, and with the aforementioned industry.

Source – Smarkets YouTube Channel

Royal Ascot: Battaash ‘the clear stand out’ for King’s Stand Stakes