Charlie Hills has Battaash ready for action in Temple Stakes at Haydock

Star sprinter makes seasonal debut in Group Two on Merseyside

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Charlie Hills believes Battaash is more capable of keeping his cool this season as he gears up for his seasonal return in the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock.

The four-year-old won three on the spin last season, before things went awry at York, with Hills believing the occasion had just got to his charge when he was only fourth behind Marsha in the Nunthorpe.

Battaash bounced back in style with a comprehensive win in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly last autumn and Hills is not anticipating any temperament issues this time.

He said: “Haydock is a beautiful, flat track and I think Battaash should really enjoy it. We can saddle him up in the stables there and it is a good lead-up for him.

“He has had a couple of issues with the stalls in the past. We have had Gary and Craig Witheford (renowned horse experts) down the last couple of weeks and Battaash has been as good as gold and not put a foot wrong.

“He can put his game face on and at York it obviously got to him, but he has not shown any signs of that this year.

“We have obviously got a penalty and there are some very fast horses in the race. It is not going to be straightforward.”

Hills added: “He was so impressive in France last season and the time of the Prix de l’Abbaye tells you that as well.

“He wasn’t stopping, either, and galloped through the line really strong. There is no reason to say he won’t get six furlongs in time.”

While Battaash is having his first run, Kachy will be having his fifth start of 2018 and seeking to supplement an impressive success at Chester just two weeks ago.

Trainer Tom Dascombe said: “Kachy is in good shape after his win at Chester the other week.

“It’s a proper race and he doesn’t even come out on second best on the ratings.

“The conditions should be good for him, but I just wish the race was at Chester! That track really plays to his strengths.

“He didn’t just win there the last day, he destroyed them. He had the race won after 50 yards. He came out of the race fine and didn’t lose much weight. It helps that Chester is just down the road in that respect as he didn’t have far to travel.”

Dascombe has a second string to his bow in Doctor Sardonicus and he added: “It is a quick five furlongs at Haydock, and the ground will be quick, so that should help.

“He has only had one run for us, but Martin Harley, who rides, him tells me that if we can get the right conditions for him, he is a Group-class sprinter, and it looks like he should get that on Saturday.”

Mabs Cross takes another step up the ladder following her Group Three success in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket at the start of the month.

Trainer Michael Dods said: “Mabs Cross has come out of her victory at Newmarket in great form.

“She won nicely at Newmarket and hopefully Haydock gets a couple of the showers which are forecast.

“Battaash is a top-quality sprinter and we have all it to do to match him – he looks to be a sprinter out on his own at the moment.”

Three-year-old Havana Grey finished fifth at Newmarket and his handler Karl Burke said: “A few people thought we might be disappointed as he was top on ratings there.

“But it’s hard for the three-year-olds at this time of year, particularly over five furlongs as they have nowhere to go without taking on their elders.

“We’re obviously doing that again on Saturday, but he will strip fitter for his Newmarket run.

“Battaash is obviously a serious horse and we’re getting the best part of a stone from him, but I think Kachy could go well as he’s a very fast horse.”

Charlie Hills has Battaash ready for action in Temple Stakes at Haydock

Haydock 16:00, 26 May 2018

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