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Battaash has established himself as one of the fastest horses in the world and, being a gelding, should be a standing dish in the top sprints for many years to come.
The son of Dark Angel has shown speed from day one but it was only in 2017, as a three-year-old, that he really began to flourish – winning over five furlongs at Sandown in a course record time before following up there in a Group 3 contest and then dazzling in the Group 2 Qatar King George Stakes at Goodwood.
After those three victories he was a leading fancy for the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes but he got restless before the start – a trait his connections have always had to guard against – and he finished a below-par fourth in a dramatic renewal won by Marsha.
Battaash emphatically turned the tables in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly – putting up an electric performance to win by four lengths.
In 2018 he returned with a comeback win in the Temple Stakes at Haydock before going off at 9/4 for the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot. He behaved well before the race, which his connections had been anxious about, but when the gates opened did too much, too soon and was collared late on by Blue Point.
Trainer Charlie Hills said: “He ran a great race and it looked like we had it won. We didn’t really want to be making the running but he broke so well that we had no choice. The winner’s a very good horse.
“If we’d won we might have given six furlongs a go in the July Cup, but I think we’ll stick to five now. There’s a race in Ireland on Champions’ Weekend that might be an option. We’ll have a look.”
Jockey Jim Crowley added: “I didn’t expect him to jump so fast – he missed the kick last time, and I left it to him today and he was like a bullet out of a gun. He’s an extremely fast horse and when he breaks like that, there’s not much you can do. After that – he’s not the sort of horse you pull around, you just sit, and he just got tired the last 50 yards. It’s a hard track to make the running on as you are always there to be shot at.
“He’s run a super race and he’s still a very good horse; it just didn’t go his way today.”
Next time out Battaash successfully defended his Qatar King George Stakes at Goodwood in superb style and as a consequence he was sent off 4-5 for the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes. But, like 12 months earlier, he failed to reproduce his best in finishing fourth.
He was also not at his best when defending his Prix de l’Abbaye crown but he began 2019 with a bang – producing an electric display to become the first back-to-back winner of the Temple Stakes since Mind Games in 1995-96. Beforehand, Hills had said he had never been 100 per cent happy with Battaash in 2018 but that he had been delighted with him this term.
As a two-year-old, Battaash won one of his five races but was gelded halfway through the campaign because of his nature.
BCS Career statistics
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