Charlie Hills' redhot sprinter Battaash is ready to put last year's result behind him in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, as he looks to end the wait for his first Group One in Britain.
The Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned five-year-old has bounced onto the leading sprint division ever since being gelded in early 2017, and is widely regarded as one of the world's fastest horses.
The son of Dark Angel made a successful return to the scene with a blistering display at Haydock in the Temple Stakes; a race he won as a four-year-old, with many including his trainer suggesting he looks better than ever.
However, Battaash has been known to misbehave more than once in the past and been notorious for his vibrant attitude and his quirky characteristics.
He has always been somewhat frantic on the way to the start of a race or in the stalls themselves - particularly on the Knavesmire at York where he has fluffed his lines twice in his career, and appears to let the occasion get the better of him.
Last year, he beat off the attentions of Lady Aurelia early on in the big Group One sprint on Day One of the royal meeting, but possibly went for home too early under Jim Crowley as Blue Point breezed on past.
He was also slightly disappointing later on in the year on his final appearance of the season, when failing to defend his Prix de l'Abbaye crown at Longchamp in October.
That said, trainer Charlie Hills believes that his speedball has been behaving well at home with a greater sense of maturity, and appears to be firing on all cylinders.
(Credit: AtTheRaces) He said: “Battaash came out of Haydock as well as he’s ever come out of any race, to be honest.
“He’s in really good form and looks a picture. He seems to be in a good place mentally and physically this year, and is really enjoying himself.
“There’s good timing between Haydock and Ascot, so we’re looking forward to that.”
With the showpiece meeting just a fortnight away now, Battaash will once again have no easy task in the King's Stand Stakes.
All of his opposition he will know all-too well, aside from Imprimis who represents the Americans; trained by Joseph Orseno.
His successor from twelve months ago Blue Point leads the home charge - with the Godolphin five-year-old in red-hot form following his winter preparation in Dubai.
Despite beating Mabs Cross at Haydock in May, the Michael Dods mare also got the better of him last season, when dispatching his chances in the Abbaye in France.
Sergei Prokofiev, Solider's Call and Alpha Delphini look the best of the rest.