Charlie Hills’s stable star Battaash heads straight to Royal Ascot where connections hope he can make the third time the charm in the King’s Stand Stakes
Owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, the six-year-old gelding has won 10 of his 20 career starts. They include Group 1 successes in the 2017 Prix de l’Abbaye and last year’s Nunthorpe Stakes.
Battaash twice bumped into Blue Point in the King’s Stand but, with Godolphin’s star sprinter retired to stud, he is favourite with bookmakers to go one better.
Hills confirmed he heads to Royal Ascot without a prep run. The King’s Stand over the flying 5f is one of the few races in this year’s schedule at the meeting that remains in its traditional slot.
“He has physically done well and I’m happy with him,” said Battaash’s trainer. “He is not a big horse, so he doesn’t take as much training, and is a good, clean-winded type.
“It depends on how they programme the rest of the year for him, but I don’t think we will be able to get a prep in before Royal Ascot.
“We will go straight to Ascot for the King’s Stand with him. He should stay fresher later on into the year and we’ll be able to keep him going well, hopefully.”
Analysis: Two sides to Battaash
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Editor
Battaash is a triple winner of Glorious Goodwood’s Group 2 King George Stakes but has a mixed Group 1 record. Capable of brilliance, his victory in the 2019 Nunthorpe during the Ebor Festival at York silenced doubters.
He had never handled that occasion before, but then Battasash didn’t back up that triumph at Longchamp. Critics say he has never followed-up a Group 1 win with another and they’re right.
Sprinters are a temperamental breed at the best of times. Battaash is no different in this regard, but on his day he is impressive.
He is also zero from three previous Royal Ascot outings with its uphill finish, but twice failed to win at York. Battaash got that monkey off his back last August, though, and the goal is something similar here.
With a good record on reappearance and some bookmakers going double figures bar Battaash, this might finally be his year.
If he’s to finally deliver at Royal Ascot, then he has to assert up the hill like he did when scorching at York. On the other hand, it’s not a stretch to imagine Battaash boiling over.