Battaash wins King George Stakes for fourth successive year at Goodwood 


Battaash smashes his own track record to win King George Stakes for fourth successive year at Goodwood 

  • Battaash smashed his own course record at Goodwood on Friday
  • The 2-7 favourite won in 55.62 seconds, compared to the previous-best 56.20
  • He gave runner-up Glass Slippers 8lb and a two-and-a-quarter length beating

Battaash underlined his bullet-like reputation as he smashed his own course record to land a fourth King George Stakes easily and give racing a welcome lift.

The mood among the few present at a crowdless Glorious Goodwood understandably took a knock with the news that Saturday’s crowd test event had to be cancelled.

But the raw speed of the Charlie Hills-trained sprinter injected energy into the day and added to this difficult season’s uplifting efforts by the super six-year-olds following Tuesday’s Goodwood Cup win by Stradivarius and last Saturday’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory by Enable.

Battaash smashed his own course record to land a fourth King George Stakes at Goodwood

On paper, Battaash had nothing to fear from his six rivals and that is how it unfolded as he gave runner-up Glass Slippers 8lb and a two-and-a-quarter length beating.

Jim Crowley’s only problem was that nothing could match the Battaash dash as he led after two furlongs of the five-furlong race with the jockey claiming the Sheik Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned gelding was idling in the closing stages despite lowering the five-furlong track best by 0.58sec with a race time of 55.62sec.

Hills said: ‘He is a true athlete and has captured the imagination of the public. He has his quirks but you know where you stand with him.

‘As soon as he stops showing all his enthusiasm, that’s the day we will have to call it quits but hopefully that is a long way off.’ Battaash’s programme writes itself. Next up will be his fourth run in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York next month, a race he won last year, and then the Prix de L’Abbaye, which he won in 2017.

A repeat of the testing conditions in the race last year when Battaash was well beaten might make his team reluctant to head to France.

But one of the few alternatives is the Breeders’ Cup and Sheik Hamdan has shown a reluctance to send Baattash there.

Hills also won the Group Three Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes with Tilsit, who beat badly hampered My Oberon one-and-a-half lengths. Winning jockey Ryan Moore picked up a five-day ban for careless riding.



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Battaash bids to follow Stradivarius into history books by winning fourth King George Stakes


Battaash bids to follow Stradivarius into history books by winning fourth King George Stakes at Goodwood

  • Sprint sensation bids to extend his flawless record in the King George Stakes
  • He arrives at Goodwood after landing the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot
  • Six rivals in race include the 2019 Prix de L’Abbaye winner Glass Slippers

The flying Battaash bids to extend his flawless record in the King George Stakes, with trainer Charlie Hills describing the race as a ‘home game’ for his sprinter. 

Some well-known sprinters have won the race twice, including Abernant and Right Boy, but Jim Crowley’s mount tries to win the five-furlong dash for the fourth consecutive year.

Hills said: ‘It’s his home track and suits his style. He handles the undulations which also suit his tactical speed so much.

Sprint sensation Battaash bids to win his fourth King George Stakes at Goodwood

‘You can let him roll down the hill in the middle of the race and he gets a lot of horses outside their comfort zones. He’s been training well.’

Battaash arrives at Goodwood having landed the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot for the first time.

Battaash’s six rivals include Glass Slippers, the Kevin Ryan-trained 2019 Prix de L’Abbaye winner, who receives 8lb.

But Crowley is full of confidence. The jockey said: ‘Battaash is the fastest horse I’ve ridden by far — he is the Batmobile. He is a very special horse that has become synonymous with Goodwood and it would mean the world to everyone involved if he can win the race for the fourth time.’



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Enable claims third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes win at Ascot


Enable claims an unprecedented third victory in the third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes win at Ascot

  • Enable has officially won King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes for third time
  • The racing star was the 4-9 favourite to win her third King George this weekend
  • Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Enable passed the post five and a half lengths ahead 

Enable produced another sparkling display to claim an unprecedented third victory in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes.

John Gosden’s superstar mare was narrowly denied in her bid to become the first three-time winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last season – and has been kept in training as a six-year-old with the primary objective of putting that right in October.

However, she first had the chance to make history at Ascot, having become only the third dual King George winner – after Dahlia (1973 and 1974) and Swain (1997 and 1998) – when getting the better of a pulsating duel with Crystal Ocean 12 months ago.

Racing star, Enable has officially won King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes for third time

After delighting connections when finishing second behind Ghaiyyath on her reappearance in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown three weeks ago, Enable was the 4-9 favourite to claim her third King George – facing just two opponents in Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Japan and Sovereign.

Ridden by William Buick, last year’s surprise Irish Derby winner Sovereign cut out much of the running – opening up a significant advantage at one stage over Enable and Frankie Dettori and Japan under Ryan Moore.

However, it was clear rounding the home turn that the leader’s petrol tank was beginning to empty – while Dettori remained motionless aboard Enable and was even able to take a nonchalant look over his shoulder to see Japan toiling in behind.

Once given her head, Enable strode clear magnificently and passed the post five and a half lengths clear under her jubilant rider, with Sovereign filling the runner-up spot.

Gosden said: ‘With Anthony Van Dyck not there, it was obvious Sovereign would set a solid pace, not a mad one. Given Japan has won a Juddmonte International over 10 furlongs, he was always going to ride him to beat us for toe, but it went perfectly.

‘I’m always worried here when you get rain on quick ground, because they can lose their hind legs, but thankfully that didn’t happen.

‘Her work had been very good leading into this, and she was quite imperious today.

Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Enable passed the post five and a half lengths ahead of the rest

Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Enable passed the post five and a half lengths ahead of the rest

The racing star was the 4-9 favourite to win her third King George but faced competition from Aidan O'Brien's pair of Japan and Sovereign

The racing star was the 4-9 favourite to win her third King George but faced competition from Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Japan and Sovereign

‘It’s a pleasure to see when Frankie’s looking round, but if you do it too much you might fall off! She won it very nicely – I think he only gave her one flick.

‘As they get older, they get more professional and think once they are two or three lengths clear they can ease up, but you never know if another horse is coming.’

He added: ‘It was a small but elite field today. There aren’t that many about once Ghaiyyath elected to go to York, and the Oaks and Derby winners live at Ballydoyle. To that extent, the best were on show.

‘She trained really well for this. Last year Crystal Ocean was a hard nut to crack, and there was a certain Waldgeist in third, and we know what he went and did (won the Arc)

‘On the other hand, if she had won that day in France she wouldn’t have been here today.

‘I’d been very open that I let her come in her own time this year – she’s highly intelligent, she doesn’t need me to ask her too much, she brought herself here in top nick today.

‘Between her training herself and Frankie training her, sometimes there’s not much room for me!’

Enable looks likely to make her next appearance at next month’s Ebor Festival at York, before her bid for more history in Paris.

Gosden said: ‘York has always been on the agenda – there are two races (Juddmonte International and Yorkshire Oaks),and we’ll look at both, as we did last year.

‘York could be really exciting, with an exceptional Oaks winner (Love) heading there as well.



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Japan primed to wreck Enable’s bid to secure record third King George victory at Ascot


‘We always had it in our minds that this would be Japan’s first big target of the season: Aidan O’Brien’s star primed to wreck Enable’s bid to secure record third King George victory at Ascot

  • Enable will seek to secure record third King George victory at Ascot
  • O’Brien says Enable will have to overcome a Japan in peak condition on Saturday
  • Japan has always seemed the cream of O’Brien’s colt crop in a disrupted season

Aidan O’Brien says Enable will have to overcome a Japan in peak condition if she is to land an historic third King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory at Ascot on Saturday.

John Gosden has emphasised that Enable’s second place to Ghaiyyath in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown sharpened her up for this afternoon’s Group One prize.

But O’Brien, who also saddles 2019 Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and 2019 Irish Derby winner Sovereign in the four-runner contest, says the same applies to his No 1 hope Japan, who was a head behind Enable when third in the Eclipse.

Japan has always seemed the cream of Aidan O’Brien’s colt crop in a disrupted season

That run followed a below-par comeback when fourth to Lord North in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. Japan was third in last year’s Derby, but always seemed the cream of O’Brien’s colt crop in a disrupted season. He won the Juddmonte International, the Grand Prix de Paris and was fourth in the Arc.

O’Brien said: ‘Everything in Japan’s two runs this year was about going to the King George. He got upset in the stalls and missed the break in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. The race didn’t suit and he got a little tired.

‘Then he ran a great race in the Eclipse Stakes. We felt he was going to progress big time for it. Everything about his work since has been very good.

‘We always had it in our minds that this would be Japan’s first big target of the season.’

Aidan O’Brien says Enable will have to overcome a Japan in peak condition on Saturday

Aidan O’Brien says Enable will have to overcome a Japan in peak condition on Saturday 

Gosden’s assertion that the competitive fire still burns brightly within Enable was probably backed up by her Eclipse effort.

But he has warned not to expect fireworks from a six-year-old mare who is a more measured performer than the exuberant three-year-old filly who won her first King George in 2017 by a sparkling four-and-a-half lengths from Ulysses.

Her neck success from Crystal Ocean last year was a thriller but one in which she always looked in control, with Frankie Dettori only giving Enable one flick of his whip as he nursed her home.

A third Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe win at Longchamp in October is the big aim but success today would be a major milestone. It would not only elevate her above Swain and Dahlia — the two other dual King George winners — but mean she had won 11 Group One races, one more than Frankel.

Victory would also see Dettori move level with Lester Piggott on seven wins in the race.

O’Brien has run 19 different horses against Enable and never beaten her but now hopes his time has come.

Dismissing chatter that Ballydoyle’s strength in numbers may be a tactical advantage as a ‘load of nonsense’, he added: ‘It will be a great race to watch — Frankie on Enable and Ryan Moore on Japan. It is going to be one of the great matches at a great track. It’s what racing is all about.’



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John Gosden insists Enable is ‘back in the zone’ in bid to secure record third King George victory


John Gosden insists Enable is ‘back in the zone’ in bid to secure record third  King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory at Ascot

  • Trainer Gosden has not seen a drop in performance from the six-year-old mare
  • She faces Anthony Van Dyck, Japan and Sovereign, all trained by Aidan O’Brien
  • It is the smallest field since 1964 for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes

John Gosden says Enable is ‘back in the zone’ as she bids to become the first three-time winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

The trainer believes Sandown’s Eclipse Stakes, in which Frankie Dettori’s mount was beaten by Ghaiyyath earlier this month, was the perfect platform for Saturday’s race and sees no drop in the competitive spirit that has delivered 13 wins for the six-year-old mare owned by Khalid Abdullah, including two Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe.

Gosden said: ‘I did not expect her to win the Eclipse. She’s a six-year-old racemare and not that wild, exuberant three-year-old race filly who could just do anything. She did well to finish second.

Enable faces three Aidan O’Brien-trained rivals in her bid for a record third King George win

‘I am looking forward to running her because she is up for it now. She behaved beautifully at Sandown when she was still not in the zone. I feel she is back in it.’

Enable, the 1-2 favourite, faces only three rivals: Anthony Van Dyck, Japan and Sovereign, all trained by Aidan O’Brien.

Meanwhile, Gosden says Stradivarius faces the ‘greatest challenge of his life’ when he attempts to become the first horse to win the Goodwood Cup four times on Tuesday.

The three-time Ascot Gold Cup winner must concede 15lb to O’Brien’s Irish Derby winner Santiago in the two-mile Group One race.



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Aidan O’Brien team bid to deny Enable third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes win at Ascot


Aidan O’Brien team bid to deny Enable recond-breaking third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes win at Ascot

  • Aidan O’Brien is hoping one of his six entires can claim victory at Ascot
  • Enable is looking to win King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes for third time
  • John Gosden-trained stablemate Fanny Logan is also in the running on Saturday

The massed ranks of the Aidan O’Brien team stand between Enable and her attempt to make history by winning a third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

O’Brien is responsible for six of the eight entries in British racing’s most prestigious midsummer middle-distance race.

With Enable joined by John Gosden-trained stablemate and Hardwicke Stakes winner Fanny Logan, the King George is a private shoot-out between the two most powerful Flat stables in British and Irish Flat racing.

The Aidan O’Brien team stand between Enable and her attempt to make history by winning a third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday

That bare fact demonstrates an uncomfortable truth – that the best middle-distance horses are in the care of an ever-reducing number of trainers – but take away the trainers’ names and Enable will arguably face the best currently available.

The exception, given that the delayed running of the Oaks and Derby meant quality three-year-olds were less likely to be entered, is Enable’s Charlie Appleby-trained Eclipse Stakes conqueror Ghaiyyath who is being saved for next month’s Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

However, take away the distraction of the trainer names and the opposition for Enable could include Eclipse third Japan, old rival and 2019 Champion Stakes winner Magical, 2019 Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and 2019 Irish Derby winner Sovereign.

Coral and Ladbrokes make Enable 10-11 favourite to secure her third King George win under Frankie Dettori, who has said he feels the mare has sharpened up for her Eclipse comeback.

Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Enable’s owner Khaled Abdullah, said: ‘Everything has been straightforward since the Eclipse and we think she’s come on for that run.’

CORAL BETTING: 10-11 Enable, 11-4 Magical, 4-1 Japan, 10-1 Fanny Logan, 12-1 Anthony Van Dyck, 20-1 Magic Wand, Sovereign, 25-1 Sir Dragonet



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