Battaash Back In The Spotlight

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Battaash winning the King's Stand | Scoop Dyga

Despite the turmoil of the current world situation, it can only be described as a golden summer as far as the horses are concerned with Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) and Battaash (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) making history in their respective divisions. Friday sees the continuation of the welcome saga as the latter bids to follow up last year's tumultuous success in the G1 Coolmore Nunthorpe S. at York. Breaking his duck in this race and Dayjur's track record in the process in 2019, Shadwell's dragster comes here on the back of a fourth consecutive triumph in the July 31 G2 King George S. at Goodwood, having registered back-to-back wins in the June 16 G1 King's Stand S. at Royal Ascot. His record is frightening on the whole and he now seems fully mature, but there is hope for the opposition as only three runs back he was beating just two of his 15 rivals in the G1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp.

Charlie Hills is well aware of the pitfalls as he awaits his stable star's latest mission. “There are so many things that can go wrong in these sprint races,” he said. “It hasn't been straightforward by any stretch of the imagination. It's been well-documented he was tricky as a 2-year-old and he was gelded then, but now he's got more races under his belt he's a proper professional in everything he does. We have Craig and Gary Witheford looking after him down at the start now and they've got to know him very well. You'd like to think we've got most things covered.”

“We're lucky to have horses like Stradivarius, Enable and him being kept in training until they're six years old. They start to get such a following and become very popular,” he added. “He has this sheer brilliance of speed and seems to have captured the imagination of everybody. I'm really happy with where the horse is at the moment–he seems in great shape. He's very much a pampered pet.” Jim Crowley added, “He's done it for the last four years now and I'm very lucky to ride him–they don't come around like him very often.”

Taking on Battaash are a pair of 3-year-olds who have yet to be fully exposed in Art Power (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) and A'Ali (Ire) (Society Rock {Ire}), with the former carrying the King Power Racing silks and impressing when taking the six-furlong G3 Lacken S. at Naas on July 4. A'Ali has won the July 5 G3 Sandown Sprint S. and The Curragh's G2 Sapphire S. on July 19, with the latter performance particularly striking as he was forced to race alone. Art Power's trainer Tim Easterby said, “Every drop of rain that falls will be very much appreciated. It's not that he has to have soft ground, it's just that he stays six furlongs so against these five-furlong horses if it slows them down a tad that will help. We've been happy with everything he's done this season, so hopefully it continues.” Ed Crisford said, “A'Ali is in good form and we're looking forward to it. Battaash is obviously going to be tough to beat, as is Art Power. But A'Ali deserves a crack at a Group 1 and I think the track will suit–he should run a good race.”

In the G2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup, Stradivarius's stablemate Enbihaar (Ire) (Redoute's Choice {Aus}) is an able deputy on her first try at two miles. Stepping up in trip having registered back-to-back wins in Goodwood's G2 Lillie Langtry S. over 14 furlongs at the start of the month, Shadwell's high-class mare is a fascinating newcomer to the stayers' scene. “I suppose it was a big call keeping Enbihaar in training as a 5-year-old, but she only just missed out on a Group 1 last year on Arc weekend,” trainer John Gosden said. “She's a big, powerful filly who enjoys her training and her owner enjoys seeing her racing. She's already won a second Lillie Langtry and now we are trying something a bit different by running her in a new division. Jim [Crowley] got off her the other day and said that the extra two furlongs wouldn't be a problem.” Crowley did have a warning, however. “I think she's a proper Group 1 mare when conditions are right. It's her first time stepping up to two miles, but I think she's crying out for it,” he said. “The only thing I would say is she is probably a top-of-the-ground mare.”

Opposing is the June 18 G1 Gold Cup and July 28 G1 Goodwood Cup runner-up Nayef Road (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and the July 5 G3 Henry II S. scorer Dashing Willoughby (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}). Mark Johnston said of the former, “He would deserve it if he wins, that's for sure. He's done absolutely nothing wrong in all his races this season. Unfortunately for him, he's just come up against Stradivarius at Ascot and Goodwood–that's all you can say. I think I've been second to Stradivarius five times now. Four of those have been in Group 1s, so he deserves his turn.”

Shadwell could have another red-letter day on Friday, with the impressive Salisbury novice winner Minzaal (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}) pitched in to the G2 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack S. Fourth on debut behind the re-opposing Mohawk King (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}) at Ascot on July 25, the Owen Burrows-trained bay made a mockery of his second start also over this six-furlong trip on Aug. 9 and his trainer holds him in high regard. “We're going in off the back of two runs which is always preferable to just the one–it can only help. He won very easily at Salisbury, but it should still have sharpened him up mentally,” he commented. “I've seen we are favourite, but we finished behind Mohawk King at Ascot and I'm sure he'll have improved for his first run as Richard [Hannon], a bit like ourselves, doesn't tend to have his fully wound up first time out. I'm hoping with getting that second run in the experience will have done him good.”

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