Michael Stoute admits he is "hopeful" about the chances of Mustashry securing a second Group One win in Tuesday's Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The mile event kicks off the four-day meeting in Berkshire and an open field of 16 is set to go to post.

Mustashry, kept in training as a six-year-old, finally landed a first top-level win last time out in the Lockinge, with several who finished behind him at Newbury taking him on again.

"I was thrilled with him in the Lockinge and his preparations have gone fine," said Stoute. "He is impervious to ground conditions which is very handy, and we are hopeful."

Karl Burke's Laurens was a star against her own sex and age last season, but in two runs against the boys, she has so far failed to win.

However, she was making her seasonal debut in the Lockinge and was just over two lengths behind Mustashry in second.

Andre Fabre won the Jersey Stakes with Le Brivido, who just got caught out of his ground when the pace quickened at Newbury and ran on well into fifth for Aidan O'Brien.

"Le Brivido ran a very good race in the Lockinge, Ryan (Moore) just said that he got caught up in traffic at a bad time when the race was just getting going," said O'Brien.

"We felt he ran a very good race and we've been very happy with him since then."

Dermot Weld's Hazapour ran in the Derby last year, but looked much happier dropped in trip at Leopardstown last time out.

"I rode him in the Derby last year and it was obvious he didn't stay. Bringing him back to the mile looks to have helped," said big-race rider Frankie Dettori.

Weld added: "I'm very happy with him. He's in great order and loves a cut in the ground."

Eve Johnson Houghton's Accidental Agent was a surprise winner last year and finished third in the Lockinge on his return.

Barney Roy won the St James's Palace Stakes for Richard Hannon two years ago and after a failed spell at stud is now with Charlie Appleby, winning last time out. Appleby also runs Mythical Magic.


Charlie Hills is optimistic Battaash will produce his brilliant best in the King's Stand Stakes later on Tuesday.

The rapid son of Dark Angel is close to unbeatable over five furlongs on his day, but has struggled for consistency over the last couple of seasons.

After cutting out much of the running in this Group One contest 12 months ago, the five-year-old's early exertions took their toll late in the piece and he was ultimately unable to resist the late surge of Charlie Appleby's Blue Point.

The pair engage in what promises to be a mouth-watering rematch on the opening afternoon of the summer showpiece meeting in Berkshire, with Battaash the marginal favourite to gain his revenge, having looked better than ever when making a successful reappearance in the Temple Stakes at Haydock.

"We've been really pleased with him since Haydock. We've had no problems and the ground looks like it will be perfect," said Hills.

"I couldn't be happier with him, to be honest. He seems to be in a good place mentally and physically this year, and is really enjoying himself. We're looking forward to running him."

The Lambourn handler has an interesting second string to his bow in Equilateral, who was last seen finishing a close-up third in the Palace House at Newmarket in early May.

Blue Point returns to defend his crown having won each of his three starts in Dubai earlier in the year. Mabs Cross was only beaten two lengths into third a year ago and has run two fine races so far this season - winning the Palace House before placing third behind Battaash at Haydock.

Trainer Michael Dods is confident his star mare can make her presence felt again in a race that is part of the Qipco British Champions Series.

Joseph Orseno, who trains at Gulfstream Park in Florida, is relishing the opportunity to saddle Imprimis - who has won seven of his nine starts while Aidan O'Brien saddles Sergei Prokofiev and Fairyland as he bids to win the King's Stand for the first time.

The former finished fourth behind Mabs Cross when favourite for the Palace House on his latest outing.

O'Brien said: "I was happy with his run at Newmarket. We wanted to give him experience over five furlongs against older horses and we knew it was going to be a learning experience for him, so we were happy with how he shaped.

"He should benefit from that and will hopefully show it on the racecourse on Tuesday."

Too Darn Hot (R)

John Gosden feels Too Darn Hot may finally reproduce his exceptional juvenile form in the St James's Palace Stakes.

The Dubawi colt carried all before him last year, signing off in style by winning the Dewhurst with Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck trailing in his wake.

A setback early in the spring ruled him out of the Guineas, though, and he faced a race against time to get to the Dante, in which he was second, and filled the same spot nine days later in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

"Too Darn Hot has probably been the worst managed horse this year, by me and the manager," confessed Gosden.

"He missed the Guineas, which was tragedy because that would have been a perfect race. He then had to walk for two weeks before going for the Dante, when he was quite frankly about 80 per cent fit.

"Then, as we seemed to be missing the Classics, we went over to Ireland nine days later. Due to the rules, he had to have a flu vaccination - he was perfectly eligible to race in the UK but not in Ireland as they changed the rules so had to have a flu vaccination on the Saturday after the Dante before the Irish 2,000 Guineas the following Saturday.

"He ran really well in Ireland and finished second, but we all ask horses to do impossible things and I think it would have been much better if we had targeted the Irish Guineas from the outset. From the horse's point of view, that has not been very clever.

"Having said that, Too Darn Hot is coming into the St James's Palace Stakes in good form and I hope that he can put in a quality performance as he certainly has not had the opportunity to do that so far this season with his more than interrupted preparation through the spring.

Gosden also runs the highly regarded King Of Comedy.

Charlie Hills' Phoenix Of Spain had the beating of Too Darn Hot in Ireland having proved no match for him in the Champagne Stakes last season. He made all under Jamie Spencer and is favourite to back that up.

William Haggas' Skardu won the Craven and went on to be third in the English Guineas and fourth in Ireland, which slightly disappointed his trainer.

Aidan O'Brien supplemented Circus Maximus after he finished sixth in the Derby, as well as The Irish Rover and Van Beethoven.

Richard Hannon runs Fox Champion, winner of his last four, and told Unibet: "Every single run he has got significantly better and his last win was the German Guineas. He made all the running, stuck his head out and was very tough.

"He has got it all to do in the St James's Palace Stakes, but it wouldn't surprise me. He is very tough, he is improving and he is a very good horse."

Ryan Moore winning on Arizona last month

Arizona heads a four-strong team for Aidan O'Brien in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Ballydoyle maestro has saddled a record eight previous winners of a Group Two contest widely considered as the most prestigious two-year-old race of the week in Berkshire - and he appears intent on adding to his tally on Tuesday.

Arizona is very much the stable's first string, having stepped up from his runner-up finish on racecourse debut at the Curragh in early May with a hugely impressive eight-length victory at the same track three weeks later.

The No Nay Never colt is joined by stablemates Fort Myers, Royal Lytham and King Of Athens.

Speaking in a stable tour for www.attheraces.com, O'Brien said of Arizona: "I've been very happy with him since his last run, and the plan is to run him in the Coventry.

"He is a very straightforward colt - and with the amount of improvement he showed from his first start to his second, you'd have to hope he can improve again."

The home team is headed by the Richard Hannon-trained Threat, who made a big impression when making a successful start to his career at Newmarket's Guineas meeting.

Richard Hannon senior won the Coventry with Rock City (1989), Canford Cliffs (2009) and Strong Suit (2010)  - and his son is confident Threat can get his name on the roll of honour.

He told Unibet: "I thought Threat would run well (at Newmarket). I wasn't really sure what we were taking on, and there weren't many runners in the race, but his homework has been exceptional.

"I think he might just be one of the best two-year-olds we've had here for a while. I'm very hopeful - I love the horse and I think he is probably our best chance of the week."

Other contenders in a field of 17 include Archie Watson's runaway Goodwood winner Guildsman and Mark Johnston's Pontefract victor Monoski.

Buildmeupbuttercup bids to continue Willie Mullins' recent domination of the Ascot Stakes.

The Closutton maestro has saddled four of the last seven winners of the two-and-a-half-mile handicap, including the last two in Thomas Hobson and Lagostovegas.

With Ryan Moore in the saddle, Buildmeupbuttercup is sure to be popular with punters in a race that also features Gordon Elliott's pair of Mengli Khan and Batts Rock - and Snow Falcon from Noel Meade's yard.

The latter was last seen finishing down the field behind Kemboy in the Punchestown Gold Cup.

Meade - who enjoyed a Royal Ascot winner in 1978 with Sweet Mint - said: "We had in our heads that we might run Snow Falcon in this last year, but we couldn't, so we're looking forward to having a go this year.
"Hopefully the ground will stay easy, and he's in good form.

"We've got a good man riding him (Colin Keane) and we'll see what happens."

The concluding race on day one is the Wolferton Stakes.

Likely players for this Listed event include Johnston's Elarqam - who got his career back on track with an assured success at Goodwood on his latest appearance - Aidan O'Brien's high-class filly Magic Wand and last year's Irish Derby hero in Joseph O'Brien's Latrobe.