Battaash Back And Ready For Goodwood

Battaash Back And Ready For Goodwood

Trainer Charlie Hills is hoping his sensational sprinter Battaash can return to his brilliant best in the Qatar King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood next week.

It's the same race the son of Dark Angel has scorched away in the last two years, but for the second year running, it will act as a springboard back to success.

The five-year-old was beaten once again by Godolphin's now retired Blue Point in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, confirming the form of the previous year.

The Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned gelding produced one of his best career performances when romping away by fourth lengths to win this last year, and is back to a track that plays to his strengths.

After watching him work on the home gallops on Tuesday morning, Hills had an update on his speedball.

(Credit: Racing Post) He said: "Last year we were never 100 per cent happy with him and he was little bit on edge in his training.

"Every since he came back this year he's been a different horse, an pleasure to train and to be around. 

"You look back at Ascot and nothing really went right for him. We thought we were going to get a good pace off the Australian horse but he slipped unfortunately and that took us a little bit too far out the race really.

"We had to make out mid-race move a little sooner than ideal and at a track like that his stamina was always going to find him out."

Battaash has won eight of his seventeen starts, but has shown the best of his form since being gelded in early 2017.

His career highlights features the Prix de l'Abbaye in 2017 - the one and only Group One to his name after also disappointing twice in the Nunthorpe up at York.

He has been known for his vibrant profile and childish behaviour at times in the preliminaries of races, but Hills reported earlier this season that there is a great sense of maturity about him now.

The Lambourn trainer is hopeful to add to his seven career winners at the highlight meeting on the Sussex Downs, and that Battaash should have things in his direction.

Hills added: "I would have thought it would actually be the worst place for him. It's not the easiest lead up but he seems to love it there.

"He's twice performed very well there so maybe the contours of the track help him.

"As long as we get the fractions right he should prove tough to beat."

Stablemate Phoenix Of Spain is also set to line up in the Qatar Sussex Stakes next week against old foe Too Darn Hot.

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