The brilliant Battaash produced one of the finest sprinting performances of recent times with a sensational blitzkrieg in the £312,000 Gr2 King George Qatar Stakes at Goodwood on Friday.
The Charlie Hills-trained four-year-old travelled with menace throughout the five-furlong event and displayed a potent turn of foot to put the race to bed in a matter of strides, winning readily by four lengths under Jim Crowley.
The son of Dark Angel was an easy two and a quarter-length winner of the race last year and became the eighth horse in history to win the Gr2 event on two occasions.
Lambourn handler Hills described the performance by Battaash, who had to carry a 3lb penalty for his Gr1 success in last year’s Prix De L’Abbaye, as “a career best” as he toyed with his rivals.
A return to Gr1 company now beckons for the speed machine with Paddy Power making Hills’ charge the Evens favourite from 7/4 for the Gr1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York on August 24.
Battaash won in a time of 56.50s – he was 0.49 seconds outside the Goodwood five-furlong record.
Battaash is owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, who also owned the brilliant Dayjur. In his final race, the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Belmont Park, he famously jumped a dark shadow cast over the track, denying him victory by a neck.
When asked about a potential tilt at the Breeders Cup on November 2 & 3 at Churchill Downs, Hills explained: “It’s up to Sheikh Hamdan if he wants to run in America. We will just take every race as it comes at the moment. I don’t think the Everest will be on the agenda. Hopefully, Battaash will stay in training as a five-year-old.”