Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to the St James's Palace Stakes on Day one of Royal Ascot on Tuesday and pick out their 1-2-3
"He was impressive at this track last season and remains a high-class prospect..."
Timeform on Battleground
1. Battleground (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore)
First foal of the same connections' Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Found. Built on the promise of his debut run when winning the Chesham Stakes (7f) at this meeting last year and saw off stronger opposition in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood on his next start, but he wasn't seen to best effect when runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Attracted strong, late support on his return in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, but can have a line put through that run as he lost his action in the Dip and was not given a hard time afterwards. He was impressive at this track last season and remains a high-class prospect.
2. Bullace (Ralph Beckett/Hector Crouch)
Won back-t0-back minor events (both over 7f) on the all-weather last year and showed much improved form when completing a hat-trick in a competitive handicap at Newmarket on his return in April. Looked at home up in grade when a length third to Mostahdaf in the Heron Stakes at Sandown last time, but the winner was well on top at the finish and it is hard to see him reversing the form.
3. Chindit (Richard Hannon/Pat Dobbs)
Won his first three starts last year all over 7f, notably the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. Not much went right for him when behind some of these in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on his final start last season, but he returned to his best when resuming winning ways in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury in April. Didn't shape badly when four lengths fifth to Poetic Flare in the 2000 Guineas last time considering he found himself too far back and was on the opposite side to where the action unfolded. The return to a less undulating track will suit, but he hasn't as much scope as some of these
4. Highland Avenue (Charlie Appleby/William Buick)
A big colt-- the type to carry condition-- who looked smart when winning a couple of races at Kempton earlier this year, and he confirmed that impression when running out a convincing winner of the Feilden Stakes (1m1f) at Newmarket in April. Ran another fine race when beaten half a length in second by Mostahdaf in the Heron Stakes last time, conceding 3 lb to that rival and possibly at a disadvantage kept to the inside in the straight. Type to go on improving and it would be no surprise were he to reverse that form now on level weights.
5. La Barrosa (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle)
Beat a smart type on debut at this course (7f) last year and didn't need to improve a great deal to follow up in the Tattersalls Stakes (7f) at Newmarket on his next start. May have been unsuited by heavy ground when only fifth in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud on his final start last season, but got back on the up when runner-up in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket in April. Not in the same form when only sixth in the Irish 2000 Guineas since, but it may be no coincidence he has underperformed both times he's encountered testing ground. A fair price if you ignore those efforts.
6. Lucky Vega (Jessica Harrington/Shane Foley)
Smart juvenile who won the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh and finished runner-up in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket. Both of those runs came at 6f, but he proved his stamina for 1m when beaten a neck in third by Poetic Flare in the 2000 Guineas. Softer ground may not have been ideal when fourth in the Irish 2000 Guineas since, but has something to find with Poetic Flare on both those runs.
7. Maximal (Sir Michael Stoute/Colin Keane)
Well-bred colt who probably hasn't progressed as expected so far, but he has some useful form this season, chasing home subsequent Derby third Hurricane Lane at Newbury and also runner-up to El Drama in the Dee Stakes at Chester. Both of those efforts came over 1¼m, but each time he has left the impression he will be suited by a return to 1m, and may be seen to better effect now. Needs to improve, though.
8. Mostahdaf (John & Thady Gosden/Jim Crowley)
Started odds-on when making a winning debut at Newcastle in March and has gone from strength to strength since, completing a hat-trick on his turf debut in the Heron Stakes at Sandown last time. There was a lot to like about that performance as he was always finding enough in the closing stages. Yard has won this three times since 2014 and he looks another leading contender.
9. Naamoos (Mark Johnston/Ben Curtis)
Landed a minor event (7.5f) by 17 lengths on his second start at Ripon last year and has won both starts this season. Showed much improved form when winning a handicap at Sandown by six lengths last time, but he had run of the race and is probably flattered by the winning margin. Well worth a crack at this but it will be much harder to dominate these rivals.
10. Ontario (Aidan O'Brien/Wayne Lordan)
Useful colt who ran creditably when finishing third to Tactical in the Free Handicap (7f) at Newmarket in April, but ran no sort of race when trailing in last place in the Dee Stakes at Chester since. Has had plenty of racing and is hard to make a case for.
11. Poetic Flare (Jim Bolger/Kevin Manning)
Well-made colt who showed smart form as a juvenile and made a winning return in the Leopardstown 2000 Guineas Trial in April. Took his form to another level when tenaciously following up in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, and has been kept busy since, running below form in the French 2000 Guineas before bouncing back to form with a bang when a short-head second to stablemate Mac Swiney in the Irish 2000 Guineas. Sets the standard on form, but looks short enough in the betting given the potential he is up against.
12. Thunder Moon (Jospeh O'Brien/Frankie Dettori)
Won the National Stakes (7f) at the Curragh (by one and a half lengths from Wembley) on just his second start last season, but couldn't confirm that form when third to St Mark's Basilica and Wembley in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on his next start. Proved disappointing in the parade ring (hasn't grown much) and on the track on his return in the 2000 Guineas last month, labouring before halfway, and he has plenty to prove now. Doesn't make much appeal at the prices.
13. Wembley (Aidan O'Brien/Seamie Heffernan)
Proved himself a smart and consistent performer last year, notably finishing second in the National Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes. Has been well below the level of that form in two starts this season, however, and those performances leave him with plenty to find here.
Timeform's Analyst Verdict
Last year's Chesham winner BATTLEGROUND arrives here fresher than most having not had a hard race in the 2000 Guineas, but the weight of support for him that day was telling, and this strong, lengthy colt is worth another chance at this more suitable track. Poetic Flare has been kept busy since his win in the 2000 Guineas and has the best form in the book, with Lucky Vega just behind.