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Imperious Battaash blazes to Goodwood victory

Hamdan’s horse underlines status as superstar with successive King George Stakes win

Gulf News

Goodwood: Record-breaking Battaash underlined his status as a superstar in the sprinting ranks when recording an imperious second successive victory in the Group 2 King George Stakes on Day 4 of the Glorious Goodwood Festival.

Twelve months ago the son of Dark Angel comfortably upstaged a high-quality field at this course, and he looked even more impressive on Friday, whizzing down the famous track like a meteorite.

It was a wonderful sight to see former champion jockey just sit tight and allow Battaash to do his thing and come home four lengths clear of veteran sprinter Take Cover.

Muthmir, who like the winner is owned by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, who was notching up his second success of the week following Alfarris who won the opening race of this year’s Goodwood meeting on Tuesday.

Charlie Hills, who guided Shaikh Hamdan’s Muthmir to champion sprinter status in 2016 looks to have another mega sprinter in his care.

Battaash became the first horse since Lochsong in 1994 to win the race in successive years and is now favourite for the Nunthorpe Stakes at York on August 24.

Winning jockey Jim Crowley said: “He was a lot more relaxed and I was a little bit conscious of him not winging it from the stalls like last time.

“I wanted to get a lead but I just couldn’t and when I saw the race developing on my left, I switched him across.

“It worked out fine. He’s equally adept on soft or fast ground,” he added.

“He is a bigger, stronger horse this year and it’s a great pleasure to be associated with him. He’s as good a horse as I’ve probably ever ridden.

“The Nunthorpe would be perfect. We know how to manage him now and I can’t wait.”

Hills commented: “It was pretty special, he’s some horse. Jim always looked in control. It was fantastic, apart from the fact that they split a bit at the start and he had no company it all went to plan.

“He’s growing up and I think that’s the best he’s behaved in the whole of his career.”

Earlier, Seniority supplied The Queen with a first winner at Goodwood when taking the Golden Mile.

It was a third successive victory in the valuable handicap for top jockey Ryan Moore on the William Haggas-trained four-year-old.

Haggas said: “It was a rough old race, but in that situation, if you are travelling, and he certainly was, you’ve got half a chance.

“I think a big handicap like this with a big field suited him, but I’m not sure where he will go, we will get him home and make a plan.”

John Warren, racing manager for the Queen added: “I can’t be sure Her Majesty will be watching right now, as I’m not sure what she’s doing today, but she’ll be watching very shortly.”

Regal Reality ended Frankie Dettori’s wait for a first winning of the week when landing the Thoroughbred Stakes.

Glorious Journey, racing in the colours of Shaikha Al Jalila Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, finished fourth for William Buick.

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