Saturday 25th May– Haydock Park – 4pm – 5f Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (3yo+)
The Temple Stakes is run over the minimum trip of 5 furlongs and is open to horses aged three or older, with three year old runners benefiting from an age for weight allowance of 8lbs. The race was established in 1965 and was run at Sandown Park before it was relocated to Haydock Park in 2008.
A good run in the Temple Stakes often means that a horse will run in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and several horses have gone on to do the double, most recently Profitable in 2016.
Since the race was moved to Haydock, seven of the 11 renewals have been won by horses ages between four and five years old. Two winners have been three year olds. Four favourites have won in this time with eight of the 11 winners coming out of the first three in the betting.
Eight of the 11 winners had run previously in the season but only two boasted previous wins earlier in the current campaign. Winning form over 5 furlongs is clearly important with 11 of the last 12 winners having at least two previous wins over the distance. Seven of the 12 winners at Haydock had previous course form with four of the winners previously winning at the course.
An official Rating of 107 or higher has been needed to win the race in 10 of the last 12 renewals and eight of those winners also had at least one win in Group racing.
The Charles Hill trained Battaash runs in defence of his title as he won this last year. The key to his chances are if he is able to keep himself under control in the preliminaries. If this is the case it is very hard to see anything beating him. His regular jockey, Jim Crowley commented after he had won the Group 2 King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last August: “He’s as good a horse as I’ve probably ever ridden. We know how to manage him now.”
His last run was in the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye on Arc day when he finished fourth. He will be difficult to back as he will probably go off as the odds on favourite but if he is at his best he will take all of the beating running off an Official Rating of 123, some 8lbs higher than anything else in the field.
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