Battaash made it third time lucky in the King’s Stand Stakes to win at Royal Ascot on his fourth attempt.
It was a fine day for owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and his Shadwell Racing operation as retained jockey Jim Crowley rode a treble.
Battaash was the second leg of that after Motakhayyel’s success in the revived Buckingham Palace Handicap which opened Royal Ascot and Nazeef’s narrow Duke Of Cmabridge Stakes success.
He raced freely and made virtually all, going clear approaching the final furlong. Battaash beat Charlie Hills stable companion Equilateral by 2 1/4 lengths.
John Quinn’s three-year-old filly Liberty Beach was a further head behind in third. Despite his previous three failures to win at Royal Ascot, Battaash was sent off odds-on at 5/6 for the King’s Stand.
He had 7lb and upwards in hand on adjusted ratings in this renewal. With nothing the calibre of previous conqueror Blue Point who retired to stud after completing the Royal Ascot sprint double last year, it was Battaash’s moment.
As bookmakers priced him at 4/6 for a successful defence of his Nunthorpe Stakes crown at York’s Ebor Festival, Hills outlined a familiar route to that next Group 1.
Battaash has run in the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and won that in each of the last three years. He will next bid for a fourth consecutive win there.
Analysis: Battaash brings it at Royal Ascot behind closed doors
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Editor
Many said Ascot wasn’t the track for Battaash. With no Blue Point to thwart him and public in attendance, however, he proved doubters wrong.
A socially distant Royal Ascot brought the best out of Battaash. No histrionics or playing up in the preliminaries. If you had never seen him on a racecourse before, you would be wondering what all the fuss was about.
Battaash was as docile in the paddock as he’s ever been. Sprinters are highly strung at the best of times, but jockey Crowley knows how to get the best out of him now.
There aren’t horses around at the moment to lead Battaash, so he makes most of the running himself. All Crowley has to do is set the right fractions.
If last year’s Prix de l’Abbaye is anything to go by, then going to the Breeders’ Cup instead of Arc weekend may prove wiser.
Battaash hated the softer surface he got at Longchamp in the autumn, so heading to America in search of better ground could be more profitable.
There isn’t a sprinter in Britain or Ireland that can hold a candle to him when on song. For Battaash, this King’s Stand triumph confirm him as the best on our shores.