Watch how Battaash led his rivals a merry dance to claim Group One glory in the Prix de l'Abbaye at Chantilly
By Racinguk.com staff
Battaash led his rivals a merry dance to claim Group One glory in the Prix de l'Abbaye at Chantilly.
The Charlie Hills-trained three-year-old won twice at Sandown and once at Goodwood during the summer, but was only fourth when stepped up to the highest level in the Nunthorpe at York, getting agitated before the start.
However, he burst out of the stalls this time in the hands of Jim Crowley and never looked in serious danger of being caught.
Last year's winner and Nunthorpe heroine Marsha did her best to bridge the gap inside the last of five furlongs, but Battaash was away and gone, being comfortably clear at the line.
Sir Mark Prescott's Marsha held on to the runner-up spot from the Clive Cox-trained Profitable in a British-dominated finish.
Hills said: "He was quite simply a different horse today than the one you saw at York. As soon as he arrived in the stables this morning, I knew that.
"It's very important to win that Group One with him and he did it in great style.
"I'm looking forward to having him around next year. He's finished for this season, but everything is open next year, including the Breeders' Cup."
Hills trained champion sprinter Muharaar and was happy to compare and contrast the two.
“I have never seen a horse with so much speed," he added.
"He’s not a big horse, but his cruising speed is unbelievable. He’s even better on faster ground. He’s a gelding and he has a great future ahead of him. We were invited to go and run in the Everest but that will be something for next year.
"His jockey said that he had never ridden a horse as fast as this. He is very different to Muhaarar who I trained before as he had a bit more stamina.He could easily have run over further, we just didn't because there was a good spot for him. This one is just pure speed."
Crowley agreed, and even suggested Battaash was taking it easy.
“He was very relaxed all day, in the stables, and he went to post well," he said.
"He had a little blip behind the stalls, and I was worried for a moment, but as soon as those gates open he was out and gone. I’ve never ridden a horse as fast as this, he was just half pacing the whole way. It’s just a case of trying to control his speed.”
Marsha looks to have run her last race for Prescott and the Elite Racing Club.
Prescott's assistant and business partner, William Butler, said: “Marsha is a consistant filly. The winner is a monster, fair-play to him. She was third in Goodwood behind him and second here.
"We are lucky, she ran well. Marsha is a Group One winner and placed in top races. I am not sure we will see her again this season, we have to see how she gets back.
"The next date in her diary is the December Sales and that's likely to be where she's heading. It will be hard to find another one like her."