Can Battaash return to his best and defend his crown in the Prix de L’Abbaye
When the 2017 flat season came to a close there was one sprinter that stood above all and that was Battaash. This was due to a jaw dropping performance as he shot down the Chantilly straight to win going away by four lengths from the 2017 Nunthorpe Stakes winner Marsha. This established the Charlie Hills trained speedster as the fastest in the world and led to the question as to whether he could be beaten. Punters were impressed and he was supported on ComeOn Sports to follow up in the 2018 edition of the race.
Following wind surgery in November Battaash returned 237 days later at Haydock in the Temple Stakes. He drifted heavily on the show and was very slowly away with everything going wrong in running. However he showed he retains all his ability in getting up to win by a head from the Aiden O’Brien trained Washington DC. This was a performance that he posted an RPR of 121 which was still 7lb below that of his runner away career best in France.
Battaash was then sent to Royal Ascot to contest the King’s Stand and was one of the bankers of the week to many. However he was turned over a short odds as he attempted to make all and was picked off by Godolphin’s Blue Point. This was another example of the horses disliking to a stiff track such as York and Ascot.
Battaash then returned to defend his crown in the King George and put in what can only be described as one of the greatest sprinting performances in the last decade. He shot out the gates travelling strongly and eased to the lead on the bridle two out. He then put the race to bed in a matter on strides to clear away to win by four lengths just shy of the track record. This performance was even the more impressive as he defeated a strong field that included the ever reliable 11 year old Take Cover who has now go on to again land the bullet recently.
His next and most recent start was at York which as we now know more than ever just does not suit the horse and he never runs his race. Battaash was still sent off a shade of odds on and travelled well to two out only to find nothing and finish fourth of fourteen. This meant he ran to over 20lb below his previous run which was a shock but several factors could be the reason behind this. Firstly he clearly shows a disliking to the stiffer tracks and he possibly needs more time between his races.
Battaash was set to run in Ireland but is now been rested as he will then head over to France to defend his crown in the Prix de L’Abbaye as he looks to return to his best. There is no doubt that if he brings his best then it is his to lose and with everything likely to be in his favour he rates a strong selection to win the race.