Very Soft Ground Could See Battaash Swerve Abbaye


Leading Sprinter Battaash although still entered for the Group One Prix de l'Abbaye this weekend could be withdrawn before the race due to the ground conditions looking to be very soft and that will not play to the six year olds strengths.

The handler has stated that his pacy six year old has come out of the Nunthorpe Stakes very well, having landed the Group One race for the second season running at York's Ebor meeting.

Battaash has been better than ever this term landing his first ever King's Stands Stakes at Royal Ascot and then backing that up at Goodwood with his fourth King George Qatar Stakes and after that landing the Nunthorpe with a gritty, determined performance in soft conditions.

The Prix de l’Abbaye is a race he landed back in 2017 but having ran in the event again since then and not performing well on very soft ground, it has become a race that does not play to the strengths of arguably the greatest sprinter to ever live.

With the rain falling over Paris and set to do so all the way up until the race it is expected to leave the ground close to heavy and that will be a huge concern for his trainer Charles Hills.

(Credit ATR) Angus Gold, owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s racing manager said: “We haven’t got as far as saying he is 100 per cent a definite runner, but from what I’ve been told it’s going to be very soft.

“Who is that going to suit? I don’t know. At the moment he runs, but if it turns into an absolute quagmire I can’t tell you – but at the moment he runs.

“Everyone has their own theories about it. I don’t personally think it was the ground that beat him last year, he was just never at the races so I wouldn’t say that.

“We know he handles easy ground, it was soft when he won the Abbaye. If it was to get really bad – I can’t tell you.”