Charlie Hills hoping Battaash can keep his cool ahead of Nunthorpe test

Trainer employing measures to maintain York favourite’s composure

  • Thursday 23 August
  • News
£20 Risk Free First Bet

Charlie Hills will do everything in his power to ensure Battaash keeps his cool ahead of the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Friday.

The four-year-old is odds-on across the board for the five-furlong Group One following a jaw-dropping display of raw speed in the King George Stakes at Goodwood last month.

There is little doubt Battaash is the most potent sprinter in Europe on his day, with his triumph in last season’s Prix de l’Abbaye also lasting long in the memory.

However, his temperament proved his downfall prior to last year’s Nunthorpe as he boiled over beforehand and was reluctant to load into the starting stalls before finishing fourth in the race itself.

Hills said: “He’s drawn 14, which is fine, and we’ve been very pleased with him since Goodwood. He was impressive that day and did it really well.

“He had his last breeze on Tuesday morning and we were very happy with him.

“We were beaten by Blue Point at Royal Ascot – he is in there again – but a flat five furlongs will suit us more and we are really looking forward to running him.”

Asked if he had any special plans for Battaash, Hills added: “I think we’ll saddle him in the stables and then take him across the track on the horsebox.

“He’s had plenty of racing since last year and he’s generally behaved well, to be fair.”

Blue Point wore down Battaash to claim the King’s Stand at the Royal meeting, but trainer Charlie Appleby acknowledges Battaash is likely to be tougher to peg back on the Knavesmire.

He said: “I’m pleased with the draw. We’re in stall 16 and Battaash is in 14, so it’s not like we’re on the opposite side to him, which is good.

“We’re very happy with our horse going into the race. His preparation has gone well.

“Obviously we hope the rain stays away as he’s definitely better on quicker ground.

“We’ve all got Battaash to beat over this trip, on this track.

“It’s a good race, but we’re looking forward to it and hoping for a good run.”

The David Griffiths-trained 11-year-old Take Cover proved he is no back number when runner-up to Battaash at Goodwood and takes him on again.

“I think he showed at Goodwood he’s as good as ever and I think he’s exactly where we’d want him going into this race,” said Griffiths.

“He’s been third in a Nunthorpe before (2016). Obviously we’ve got Battaash to beat, as well as Blue Point, but Battaash has boiled over before and you’ve got to go there and take him on.

“Battaash is a phenomenal horse, to do what he did at Goodwood. And the thing is he doesn’t even look like a big, strong sprinter – he looks like a pony – but obviously he’s got a massive engine.”

Michael Dods claimed back-to-back renewals of the Nunthorpe with Mecca’s Angel in 2016 and 2017 and saddles another high-class filly in Mabs Cross.

“I was hoping to be drawn in the middle and we are (stall 10), so we can’t complain about that. Battaash and Blue Point are wider, so we’ll see what happens,” said the Darlington-based trainer.

“If the same Battaash that turned up at Goodwood turns up on Friday, I think there’s only one winner. There’s no doubt that he’s the best sprinter around over five furlongs, but he did boil over before this race last year and you can’t be sure which Battaash will turn up.

“If he isn’t at his best, then it opens up the race to the rest of us.

“We’re very happy with our filly. We wouldn’t mind a bit of rain, just to slow the speed horses down.”

Charlie Hills hoping Battaash can keep his cool ahead of Nunthorpe test

York 15:35, 24 August 2018

Sign up to bet365. Click to View Bonus Code Details
Up to £30 in free bets
Get £20 in free bets
£20 Risk Free First Bet
Up to £20 in free bets
Up to £10 in free bets
Up to £40 in Bonus funds
100% Bonus up to £100
£20 Free Exchange Bet
Get a £10 risk-free first bet
Existing User?

Forgot your password?

New User?

Sign up using our simple one-page form and you'll be able to access free video form, tips and exclusive content straight away.