Laurens gets the vote from Simon Holt in Tuesday's Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot - he previews the high-class action with four recommended bets.
Recommended bet: Tuesday June 18
Wet weather is forecast for the first two days of Royal Ascot, and may arrive by 10am on Tuesday.
With uncertainty surrounding how much will fall, the opening day could be tricky and the King's Stand Stakes highlight might not be the usual test of all-out speed.
Always a strong finisher, Mabs Cross is taken to turn the tables on Blue Point and Battaash who beat her into third in this race 12 months ago.
Michael Dods' mare has continued to progress since, finished in front of the above-mentioned pair when second to Alpha Delphini in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York last August and then went on to win the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp (Soldier's Call third, Battaash fourth).
Mabs Cross put up a super performance at Newmarket first time out this season (Sergei Prokofiev fourth) when defying a big penalty in the Palace House Stakes and was conceding 2lb to both Battaash and Alpha Delphini when third subsequently in the Temple Stakes at Haydock.
Now 5lb better off, she looks sure to go very close but might not want the ground too soft.
Battaash was a really impressive winner at Haydock but big occasions have got to him in the past and his best performances - a win in the 2017 Abbaye and a second brilliant win in the King George Stakes at Goodwood last season - have come when fresh and after a break.
Charles Hills' undeniably smart sprinter sweated up and over-raced before his defeat by Blue Point here last year and his state of mind has to be a worry again, though he showed a more professional attitude at Haydock settling well just off the pace.
Blue Point flopped in the July Cup after his King's Stand success but won all three of his starts in Dubai earlier this year and, while short enough in the betting like Battaash, seems bound to run his race.
Soldier's Call received plenty of weight (a big two-year-old allowance) in the Abbaye and was narrowly beaten in third under a penalty at York on his reappearance last month.
Successful in the Windsor Castle Stakes here last year, he has been trained for this.
The St James's Palace Stakes sees a re-match between Phoenix Of Spain, Too Darn Hot and Skardu who finished first, second and fourth respectively in the Irish 2000 Guineas, but I like the look of the French Guineas runner-up Shaman.
Maxime Guyon's mount won his first two starts this season and stayed on strongly when beaten a length by the hot favourite Persian King at Longchamp.
The latter has since been beaten in the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) but ran very well before his stamina gave out, and his form last season when beating 2000 Guineas winner Magna Grecia (who returned injured after the Irish Guineas) at Newmarket in October suggests that the British and French three-year-old milers are closely matched.
Over the stiff mile at Ascot, Shaman is guaranteed to see out every yard.
A reproduction of his win at the Curragh will see Phoenix Of Spain hard to beat, though Too Darn Hot was backing up quickly that day after his reappearance in the Dante. There had been nearly two lengths between the two colts when Too Darn Hot won the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last September.
It could be that the strapping Phoenix Of Spain has improved past his rival now but they both look short enough in the betting when it's hard to be certain of what's going to happen.
Earlier, Laurens is taken to reverse last month's Lockinge Stakes placings with Mustashry (Accidental Agent third, Romanised fourth, Le Brivido fifth, I Can Fly sixth) in the Queen Anne Stakes.
Karl Burke's multiple Group One winner ran as if just needing the race that day at a time when her trainer's horses were out of form and, having been outpaced by the winner inside the final furlong, was closing again at the line.
This stiffer mile will probably suit Laurens who, a year ago, won the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) at Chantilly over a mile-and-a-quarter before reverting successfully to a mile to take the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown and the Sun Chariot at Newmarket.
A poorer run here on Champions Day in October came at the end of a long, hard season.
Before Newbury, Mustashry had looked a solid Group Two horse but, like many a Sir Michael Stoute-trained older campaigner, may now be an improved performer (though he had the benefit of a previous run before Newbury) while the sometimes inconsistent Accidental Agent, a long-priced winner of this race 12 months ago, should go well again if reproducing that effort.
However, I am banking on Laurens improving most for the run.
Later on, Latrobe can out-stay his rivals in the Wolferton Stakes.
Considering that the son of Camelot won last year's Irish Derby over a mile-and-a-half, this mile-and-a-quarter trip is probably a bare minimum but, if the rain arrives, it could take some getting.
Besides, the Joseph O'Brien-trained Latrobe has run several good races at this distance and was not knocked about when a close last of four behind Magical at The Curragh early last month. One suspects that this race will have been a target with Donnacha O'Brien seeking a first win at the meeting.
The danger could be Aidan O'Brien's smart filly Magic Wand, though her best form has been against her own sex and any cut in the ground might not be ideal even though she was an impressive winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes (1m4f) at this meeting last year.
Posted at 1600 BST on 17/06/19.