HORSERACING: Mabs Cross can have last laugh at Ascot

Emma Armstrong (left) and David Armstrong (right) with Mabs Cross at Highfield Farm in Chorley
Emma Armstrong (left) and David Armstrong (right) with Mabs Cross at Highfield Farm in Chorley

Local hero Mabs Cross and runaway Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes champion Battaash will resume their rivalry in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.

Battaash showcased his blistering speed to turn last weekend’s Temple Stakes into a procession, defending the £100,000 Group Two title he claimed at Haydock Park in 2018.

And trainer Charlie Hills has warned that speedball Battaash will be hard to beat this season on the back of his brilliant showing in Haydock Park’s five-furlongs dash.

Mabs Cross, owned and bred by David and Emma Armstrong from Chorley, finished a gallant third.

But her trainer Michael Dods says Royal Ascot will suit her racing style down to the ground.

“At Ascot there’s a hill, and she finishes strongly, so it should help her,” said Dods.

“On his day Battaash is nigh on unbeatable – but he doesn’t always have his day.

“I did think he looked tremendous at Haydock Park last Saturday, though, and he’s a very good horse.”

Dods felt Mabs Cross’ Group One penalty made life difficult and that on a level playing field in the King’s Stand she may be able to exact her revenge in front of Her Majesty the Queen on June 19.

“I thought Mabs Cross ran a great race in the Temple Stakes and we’ll have the re-match at Ascot when we’ll be five pounds better off.

“A bit of juice should help us – which we should get, with it being the first day of the Royal Ascot meeting.”

Meantime, Royal Ascot 
remains the target for 
Calyx despite his shock defeat at Haydock Park last weekend.

The speedy son of Kingman was beaten for the first time with the three-year-old prospect finishing behind winner Hello Youmzain in the Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “It was obviously not the run we expected from Calyx at Haydock, but he seems fine.

“We’ll keep an eye on him for the foreseeable future, but we would still be looking at Royal Ascot.”

There is plenty of exciting racing to look forward to at Haydock Park, beginning next Thursday, June 6.

The following day is the first summer Live at The 
Races evening concert featuring Jess Glynne, with the Betway Sparkling fixture on Saturday, June 8.