Battaash Primed For a Fifth King George


Battaash | Scoop Dyga

Shadwell's Battaash (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) began his impressive ascent to the top of the sprinting tree in the 2017 edition of the G2 King George Qatar S. and in all his return Goodwood visits he has been unflinching and unbeatable. He returns to the race he has made his own in search of a glorious five-timer on Friday and after Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) was forced out of a similar bid on Tuesday the onus is firmly on him. Immaculate last term with his three starts culminating in successes here and in Royal Ascot's G1 King's Stand S. and the G1 Nunthorpe S. at York, he was probably a touch short of his peak when fourth behind Oxted (GB) (Mayson {GB}) on his return in the June 15 King's Stand and connections are happy they have him spot-on now. “It was well-documented that he hadn't been back in training long before Ascot, so it didn't surprise me that he needed it,” racing manager Angus Gold commented. “Hopefully he has come on from that. It's an obvious fact he's not getting any younger and at some stage he will start to slow down, but hopefully not yet.”

“He showed us all his old dash was still there [at Ascot]–he seemed very happy to be back at the races, behaved himself well, so there were a lot of positives to take out of it,” Gold added. “They went very, very hard – he sat just behind them, came through to take it up and just blew up and got tired. “It would be very special if he could pull it off. It's already pretty remarkable, four years in a row and it's great for racing. We were blessed last year and sadly no one could witness it, so let's hope we can make up for it this year.”

Taking aim at the King of Sussex is 'TDN Rising Star' Dragon Symbol (GB) (Cable Bay {Ire}), who was stripped of his win in the G1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot June 18 only to lose out again at the highest level when Starman (GB) (Dutch Art {GB}) proved too strong in the G1 July Cup at Newmarket July 10. Campaigned at this trip only once so far, Yoshiro Kubota's 3-year-old sensation was impressive in a conditions race at Hamilton May 2, the race in which he earned his Rising Star tag. “We're drawn away from Battaash which isn't ideal, but there is pace around us with Good Effort and Ornate,” jockey Oisin Murphy said. “I know it's not been long, but he had a little freshen up after the July Cup. I'm looking forward to coming back to five furlongs with him, his sectionals at Newmarket were very fast. I really respect Battaash, he's obviously a champion, but Dragon Symbol will hopefully give him something to think about if he's at his best.”

Runner-up to Battaash 12 months ago, Bearstone Stud's Glass Slippers (GB) (Dream Ahead) bows to very few having won the G1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp in 2019, The Curragh's G1 Flying Five in September and the GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland when last seen in November. She is facing as tough a seasonal bow as is possible to find in a Group 2 in name only, while King Power Racing's Art Power (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) is race-hardened this term and has been knocking loudly on the door of late. It could be that Goodwood and this trip is an ideal combination for the strong front-runner, who was third in the G1 Diamond Jubilee S. on Royal Ascot's soft ground June 19 and was caught only in the final strides when fourth in the July Cup.

Also on the card are the G3 l'Ormarins Queen's Plate Glorious S. and the G3 Bonhams Thoroughbred S., with the latter hosting a Shadwell representative at the other end of the career spectrum in the unbeaten 3-year-old Baaeed (GB) (Sea the Stars {Ire}). So impressive over this mile trip in the Listed Sir Henry Cecil S. at Newmarket July 8, the full-brother to Hukum (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) may have an easier task here than on that occasion with Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum's El Drama (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) held on the form of his win in Chester's Listed Dee S. over an extended 10 furlongs May 6.

“It's a step up and it's all happened quite quickly for him,” racing manager Angus Gold said of the exciting William Haggas-trained homebred. “He's had three relatively quick runs, but from what William and his team can see at home he seems in good shape. He seems to have a good mind on him–he takes it well. The interesting thing with this horse is, from his pedigree, you would think he wanted further and yet he's got the class to be winning so far–including a decent race last time–over a mile. One day, I'm imagining we will be wanting to go a mile and a quarter with him, but equally at the same time you couldn't say the way he won at Newmarket last time he necessarily needed a jump up in trip just yet.”

Connections are keeping an eye on the weather. “There's talk of rain on Thursday night and I think if it was heavy rain and it went back to what it was on Tuesday, there's every chance he wouldn't be there,” he warned. “If it's just on the easy side of good, I can't see that being too much of a problem. When they've done all their winning on faster ground, until you've seen them go on slower you don't know.”

In the Glorious over a mile and a half, Ballydoyle's 'TDN Rising Star' Mogul (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) returns to the course and distance of his success in the G3 Gordon S. at last year's festival. Last seen finishing at the tail of the field in the G1 Coronation Cup at Epsom June 4, the G1 Grand Prix de Paris and G1 Hong Kong Vase hero needs the ground to continue to dry out. If he is compromised, the May 27 G3 Brigadier Gerard S. and July 2 Listed Gala S.-winning veteran Euchen Glen (GB) (Authorized {Ire}) will be on his case. “He won here last season and he would take all the beating if in the same form that saw him take care of In Swoop in the Grand Prix de Paris and win the Hong Kong Vase afterwards,” Mogul's rider Ryan Moore said. “He hasn't hit that note in three runs this year and clearly didn't give his running at Epsom last time, but if the ground dries out sufficiently for him and he runs his race than he is a serious Group 1 horse taking on lesser rivals here.”

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