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Five horses who dropped Series hints at Goodwood

8 Aug 2017

We consider a quintet who shone at Goodwood likely to make their mark on the Champions Series

Battaash was most impressive in the Qatar King George Stakes at Goodwood. Picture:

There was some excellent racing at the Qatar Goodwood Festival last week with Stradivarius, Here Comes When and Winter all securing wins in races that form part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

Several other winners at the meeting indicated they would also be making their mark in the Series at some stage – if not this season then next. Here are five to keep in mind.

Trainer: Andrew Balding
The three-year-old gelding was an emphatic winner of the Group 3 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes, having won in similar style at Newmarket on his previous start. Andrew Balding suggested afterwards that he could see him returning for the Qatar Sussex Stakes a year from now and do not be surprised if this week he is entered for the QIPCO-sponsored Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day on October 21. His only defeat in five starts was when off-colour at Royal Ascot.

Trainer: Charlie Hills
Battaash confirmed himself as a sprinter heading for the top when proving much too strong for a quality field in the Group 2 Qatar King George Stakes over five furlongs. The three-year-old gelding, who had previously lowered the 5f track record at Sandown, was running on soft ground for the first time but it did not blunt his pace. Charlie Hills says his next run will be the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York on August 25 and his clash that day with Lady Aurelia, the stunning King’s Stand Stakes winner, promises to be a thriller.

Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute
After near-misses in the Dante and King Edward VII Stakes, which hinted at better to come, Crystal Ocean came good in style on Saturday – delivering a polished display in the Qatar Gordon Stakes to beat a familiar rival in Khalidi by three and a half lengths. It would be no surprise if Crystal Ocean continued to progress and it bookmakers afterwards took evasive action about him winning the William Hill St Leger. He is a general 6-1 for the final Classic of the season next month which, of course, forms part of the Champions Series.

Trainer: Charlie Appleby
Things looked bleak for Endless Time when she ran into traffic problems two out in the Group 3 Markel Insurance Fillies’ Stakes but she picked up smartly under William Buick to prevail by a neck. She has now won seven of her 14 races and the daughter of Sea The Stars has been placed in Group 1 company. She warrants entries in the British Champions Long Distance Cup and British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, both sponsored by QIPCO and part of Champions Day at Ascot on October 21

Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute
One of the most striking performances of the week was by Expert Eye in the Qatar Vintage Stakes. Sent off 7-4 favourite after an impressive winning debut at Newbury, the Acclamation colt glided through the seven-furlong race and breezed clear to win easily by four and a half lengths. Galileo Gold won the Vintage Stakes two years ago en route to QIPCO 2000 Guineas glory the following year and there has to be a chance the exciting Expert Eye will emulate him. Most firms make him 4-1 favourite for a Classic run eight months from now.