Stoute hopes Mustashry can be a Royal success
Sir Michael Stoute admits he is "hopeful" about the chances of Mustashry securing a second Group One win in today'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."
Owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's racing manager Angus Gold added: "It surprised me how easily he won the Lockinge.
"He's had so many niggling problems down the years. Some don't come back from that mentally, but he's got the right attitude. He's a fine, big horse and some of those (problems) might have been down to immaturity.
"Sir Michael's team weren't as surprised and they see him every day. If he runs to that level again he's the one to beat, but it was Laurens' first run and there are other good horses there."
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 two lengths behind Mustashry in second.
Her jockey PJ McDonald is searching for a first Royal winner in the first of eight Qipco British Champions Series races run this week.
"She's come out of the Lockinge well and we couldn't be much happier. She looks amazing, feels amazing and is going into Ascot as well, if not better, than when she has gone into any of her previous races," said McDonald.
"It's very competitive and she's taking on the boys again. She will have to find a bit with Sir Michael Stoute's horse (Mustashry) and it wouldn't surprise me to see him improve again - he's trained by an absolute genius - but I'd be very confident our filly will improve from the Lockinge.
"She was fit enough to go and have her run, but there is only so much you can do with them at home and she finds her work so easy that she's never really in the red zone. There is nothing that can take her there or lead her there."