Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 22 August 2019

Class and pace of Battaash hard to ignore in bid for third King George Qatar Stakes

Battaash, as fast as he is mercurial, can become the first horse to win the King George Qatar Stakes for the third time today. Stock photo: AFP/Getty Images
Battaash, as fast as he is mercurial, can become the first horse to win the King George Qatar Stakes for the third time today. Stock photo: AFP/Getty Images

Marcus Armytage

Battaash, as fast as he is mercurial, can become the first horse to win the King George Qatar Stakes for the third time today.

The Charlie Hills-trained gelding has a reputation but is probably not as bad as many have made out because he has only been out of the first four once in 17 starts.

But having won this race by 2.5 lengths and, last year, by four lengths from another two-time winner, Take Cover, as well as winning the Prix de L'Abbaye by a length, it is not unreasonable to wonder why Battaash has not won more than that single French Group One.

However, this contest over a sharp five furlongs suits him down to the ground and he clearly prefers the ambience of Glorious Goodwood over the intensity of Royal Ascot. With Blue Point, who beat him at Ascot, now retired and no other Group One winner in the race, the 1/3 shot is hardly a working man's price, and it is hard to see anything holding a candle to him, such is his class and pace.

Ryan Moore has had a quiet week so far but has won the past three runnings of the Unibet Golden Mile. Last year he won it by half-a-length on Seniority for William Haggas and he is reunited with the gelding today.

Seniority has done very little since to offer encouragement and yet runs off a 3lb higher mark and I prefer the claims of the improving Indeed, winner of his last two starts for Lambourn trainer Dominic Ffrench Davis and Liam Keniry.

William Buick returns to the saddle this evening with two rides at Newmarket having been sidelined by a head injury since May.

The jockey, who suffered post head-injury syndrome, was given final clearance by the British Horseracing Authority medical team yesterday.

He rides the newcomer Lazuli (6.25) and Art Song (8.00), both for his retainer, Godolphin. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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