Battaash made it three out of three this season when retaining his crown in the 5f Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes on day three of York’s Ebor Festival, but those who sent him off the 1/2 favourite had plenty of anxious moments.
The Charlie Hills trained six-year-old was quickly away under regular pilot Jim Crowley and all seemed to be going extra to plan.
However, in windy conditions the distress signals began to go out at the two marker as 25/1 outsider Que Amoro blitzed up the stands side rail under Paul Mulrennan and looked about to cause a huge upset.
The two then went at it hammer and tong and Que Amoro briefly looked to be getting the better of the argument.
It was then to the credit of Battaash that he dug deep for pressure on soft ground which was far from ideal to assert inside the final furlong and prevail by a length.
There was no course record or trailblazing electric performance that has become his trademark, but he ultimately got the job done and showed that he has guts as well as tons of natural ability.
It was the biggest fight he had faced for a long time and Battaash came off the ropes to deliver the knockout blow where it mattered.
Moss Gill ran a tremendous race back in third to be beaten just three lengths. The big disappointment of the race was the Tim Easterby trained Art Power who was slowly away and never able to get competitive.
Battaash is now 6/4 favourite with Betfair for the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp in October, a race which he won in 2018.
Analysis: Battaash plenty short enough in Abbaye betting
David Metcalf, Horsebetting.com Head Tipster
Battaash is undoubtedly a sprinter of the very highest order. Real stars are those that can tough it out when the gun is put to their head under conditions which are far from ideal.
However, he was rated 22lb superior than Que Amoro going into the Nunthorpe Stakes, so should have won far easier than he did.
For all that he has now won 13 of his 23 starts, with four of those coming at the highest level, I would not be rushing to back him in the Abbaye at odds of 6/4 .
The horses he beat in the Nunthorpe and previously when winning the Group 2 King George at Glorious Goodwood give the form of both races a far from solid look.
For that reason, there is value elsewhere in that market.