Brilliant Battaash ready for Nunthorpe redemption
4 Aug 2018
Rapid four-year-old is brilliant winner at Goodwood to set up return mission at York.
Battaash was a superb winner at Goodwood for the second year running. Picture: Racingfotos.com
Battaash is hot favourite for the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York this month after his dazzling success in the King George Qatar Stakes at Goodwood on Friday.
In gaining back-to-back victories in the Group Two sprint, the Charlie Hills-trained four-year-old was even more impressive than he had been 12 months earlier, behaving beautifully when being loaded into the stalls and displaying a potent turn of foot to power home four lengths in advance of the gallant Take Cover.
In Hills’ view, Jim Crowley’s mount handled the preliminaries better than in any of his previous career starts, and is a more “grown up” individual.
That could be pivotal at York because in last year’s Nunthorpe, which forms part of the QIPCO British Champions Stakes, he was restless before the start and finished a below-par fourth.
“That was fantastic,” Hills said. “They split a bit after the start, but he was travelling so well Jim had to let him go forward.
“So much work has been done with him in the stalls and that’s the best he’s behaved in his whole career. He’d been training a lot better after Ascot (second in the King’s Stand Stakes) and is growing up.”
Hills mapped out a definite three-race plan for Battaash, who was heavily backed into 8-11 on course, although there could be a fourth.
He added: “There’s a great programme ahead now with three weeks between each of the Nunthorpe (at York), the Flying Five in Ireland and the Abbaye (at ParisLongchamp).