MICHAEL DODS is hoping conditions will play to Mabs Cross’ strengths tomorrow as his star sprinter attempts to claim more Group One success in the King’s Stand Stakes on the opening day of Royal Ascot.

Last year’s third-place finish behind Battaash and Blue Point sparked a successful run that also saw Mabs Cross finish second in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York and land the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp as she established herself as one of the best five-furlong sprinters in Europe.

The first three finishers from last year’s renewal re-oppose each other tomorrow afternoon, and while Battaash is a short-priced favourite on the back of his success in last month’s Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock, Dods is hoping Mabs Cross can turn the tables.

The weekend rain should ensure tomorrow’s rematch takes place with a bit of cut in the ground, while Ascot’s stiff finish should suit Mabs Cross’ fast-finishing running style.

“She lost a hind shoe at Haydock, and at the time I didn’t think it probably cost her anything, but she was a bit sore for the next few days,” said Dods. “Also, I don’t think the track at Haydock plays to her strengths.

“She likes to come with a finish, but at Haydock, the race is already over by the time she does. We’ve seen that two years running.

“Ascot does play to her strengths because it’s a stiff finish, and a bit of juice in the ground will also help her. If it’s good to soft, or on the easy side of good, that will suit as it will bring her stamina into play.”

The King’s Stand forms part of the QIPCO British Champion Series, with Mabs Cross’ presence in the field underlining her rapid rise up the ratings in the last two years.

As a two-year-old, the sprinter was running in handicap company off a rating of 74, but she has developed into a proven Group One performer, with realistic hopes of giving Dods his first Royal Ascot winner.

“Before she had ever run, I thought she’d be a decent handicapper – an 80 or 90 (rated) horse,” said Dods, who is based in Denton. “Things didn’t go right in her early races, but then she won a poor race at Newcastle and things have gone on from there. She’s kept on improving and improving – it’s been unbelievable.”