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Battaash back with a bang in Temple Stakes at Haydock

25 May 2019

The King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot will be next on his agenda


Battaash put up a dazzling display in the Temple Stakes at Haydock. Picture:

Battaash’s previous three runs in QIPCO British Champions Series races have all met with a defeat but he will surely put that right this summer after his scintillating winning return in the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock.

The 2017 Prix de l’Abbaye winner has speed to burn and was up against a handful of other leading sprinters.

Caspian Prince and Kachy flew out of the stalls and made the running towards the far side, with Alpha Delphini in third place towards the near side.

At halfway, Jim Crowley decided to tack across towards the two leaders and he was soon in front on Charlie Hills’ five-year-old, who was having his first run since undergoing minor wind surgery.

Battaash showed his rivals a clean pair of heels and galloped past the line two and a half lengths clear of Coolmore Nunthorpe winner Alpha Delphini, with Mabs Cross third, as he became the first horse to land back-to-back victories since Mind Games in 1995 and 1996.

His victory completed a dream half an hour for Hills, after the win of Phoenix Of Spain in the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas. In that race, Magna Grecia, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas winner, failed to reproduce his Newmarket running and faded to be fifth.

Battaash’s next race will be the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, with bookmakers making him a general 5/2. It is the first race in this year’s Sprint Category of the Champions Series and he chased home Blue Point in last year’s renewal.

Crowley said: “It’s never easy on this fella. But I was able to get in behind one. Even if it’s just for a furlong, it helped me rather than charging off in front.

“After a furlong, they weren’t going quick enough. I tried to take a pull on him, but he does his own thing.”

He added: “I think the horse is in better form this year – he seems a lot happier, and is a lot more forward in his coat than this time last year.

“He was much better (mentally) – he was OK. Sometimes things set him off, but today he was pretty good. He got a bit warm, but by no means compared to what he used to be.

“Definitely the King’s Stand (next). Probably, he can go back to York (Nunthorpe Stakes) or you’ve got the Flying Five in Ireland and finish up with the Goodwood race he’s won twice now – it’d be nice to do it three times. He’s a smashing horse.”