Charlie Hills hopes Battaash can return to his brilliant best by securing a record-breaking third victory in the King George Qatar Stakes at Goodwood.
Having claimed the Group Two prize in both 2017 and 2018, the son of Dark Angel will bid to make it a hat-trick of wins in the five-furlong dash on August 2
Making a winning return in the Temple Stakes at Haydock in May, as he did 12 months ago, the Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned five-year-old then had to settle for the runner’s up spot for the second successive year behind the now retired Blue Point on his most recent start in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Hills said: “Battaash came out of Ascot really well, and the plan with him now is to go back to Goodwood to try and win the King George Stakes.
“He likes it at Goodwood. He has been down there twice and won twice, so hopefully the same will happen this time.
“I thought he ran really well at Ascot. We were not as far forward as wanted to be, and he was slightly dragged out of the race.
“The two raced alone, then he had to make his move sooner than we wanted, and he just got outstayed by Blue Point again – and on that track the rain didn’t help him. ”
Looking further down the line, a trip to Ireland for the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh may be taken up on his return to Group One company.
Hills added: “He is entered in the Nunthorpe at York, but he has also got an entry in the Flying Five.
“I’m quite keen to have a go at the race in Ireland.”
A step up to pattern race company and a return to Ascot could be on the cards for Royal Hunt Cup winner Afaak, with Hills contemplating running the son of Oasis Dream in the Group Two Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile.
He said: “Afaak has an entry in the John Smith’s Cup, but he is also in the Summer Mile. I’ve put him in that because he has good form at Ascot.
“I think the better class horse he is running against helps him as well, and I definitely think the Summer Mile is worth looking at.
“He has gone up a bit in the weights, which won’t make life easy in a handicap, and you need a decent draw in the John Smith’s Cup. But we always thought a mile and a quarter is his trip.”