Battaash Bidding For King George Hat-Trick

Battaash Bidding For King George Hat-Trick

Charlie Hills hopes his star sprinter Battaash can soon return to his brilliant best, by recording a hat-trick of wins in the King George Qatar Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in a month's time.

Previously winning the Group Two prize in both 2017 and 2018, the five-year-old will seek to put another defeat at the hands of Blue Point in the Kings Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot behind him.

The Godolphin sprinter has since retired after he returned to Berkshire four days later to land the other major Group One dash of the week - the Diamond Jubilee over six furlongs.

Meanwhile the son of Dark Angel; who made an impressive return in the Temple Stakes at Haydock in May, appears to have been on his best behaviour this term so far.

Known for his vibrant profile and childish behaviour at times in the preliminaries, he was beaten fair and square by Charlie Appleby's former colt, but will look to continue his excellent record on the Sussex Downs.

(Credit: AtTheRaces) Hills said: “Battaash came out of Ascot really well, and the plan with him now is to go back to Goodwood to try and win the King George Stakes.

“He likes it at Goodwood. He has been down there twice and won twice, so hopefully the same will happen this time.

“I thought he ran really well at Ascot. We were not as far forward as wanted to be, and he was slightly dragged out of the race.

“The two raced alone, then he had to make his move sooner than we wanted, and he just got outstayed by Blue Point again – and on that track the rain didn’t help him.”

With one eye on the rest of the season, a trip to Ireland for the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh could be in the making in preference on heading back to York for the Nunthorpe Stakes.

Hamdam Al Maktoum's speedball has been known to wind everyone up before on the Knavesmire, and has previously been well beaten twice in the Group One contest in August.

Hills added: “He is entered in the Nunthorpe at York, but he has also got an entry in the Flying Five.

“I’m quite keen to have a go at the race in Ireland.”

Speaking over Royal Ascot winner Afaak - who bolted up in the Royal Hunt Cup, Hills stated the five-year-old son of Oasis Dream could return to Ascot for a step up in grade.

He said: “Afaak has an entry in the John Smith’s Cup, but he is also in the Summer Mile. I’ve put him in that because he has good form at Ascot.

“I think the better class horse he is running against helps him as well, and I definitely think the Summer Mile is worth looking at.

“He has gone up a bit in the weights, which won’t make life easy in a handicap, and you need a decent draw in the John Smith’s Cup. But we always thought a mile and a quarter is his trip," he said.