Battaash blasts to victory in Nunthorpe Stakes at York
Battaash made it third time lucky in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes with a blistering display to power home in the five-furlong Group One feature at York.
The Charlie Hills-trained gelding silenced his critics as he smashed the course record, previously held since 1990 in this race by Dayjur in the same colours of owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.
Leading two furlongs out under Jim Crowley, Battaash (7-4) spreadeagled the field as he cruised to victory by three and three-quarter lengths from Soldier's Call, with So Perfect another length back in third.
Ten Sovereigns, winner of the July Cup, was sent off the 13-8 favourite, but had to settle for sixth place.
Hills said: "Fantastic. All the chat saying he doesn't like York and he's broken the track record, and that's Dayjur's track record as well.
"He was so cool and calm. It was a good decision to keep him at home last night. He loves his stable at home and it's nice to keep a routine with him.
"I was really pleased with the draw and Jim gave him an absolute peach of a ride. He got a lovely tow in there. This is some horse - he's seriously fast."
He added on plans: "He's obviously been gelded so we can come back here again next year. I'd love to go to Ireland (Flying Five at the Curragh) with him in a few weeks and then hopefully go to France and why not the Breeder's Cup.
"I'll have to speak to the owner."
Archie Watson was over the moon with the performance of Soldier's Call.
He said: "I'm delighted - he's got bags of pace, quick ground suits and an easy five. He's bumped into one of the best sprinters of recent times, but he's ran a huge race to be second and I'm delighted with him.
"There are obviously three more Group Ones that are suitable for him - there's Ireland, there's the Abbaye - which he was third in as a two-year-old last year - and the Breeder's Cup which is run on a flat five this year.
"We'll have to think about Ireland as he disappointed there last time. We'll sit down and have a think about it, but I'd say the two main targets are France and America."
So narrowly denied last year, Mabs Cross was fourth on this occasion, a length behind the Aidan O'Brien-trained So Perfect.
Her trainer Michael Dods said: "He (Gerald Mosse) said the ground was just too fast. He said he knew she didn't like it over first two (furlongs) and he's looking forward to the Abbaye, where hopefully there'll be a bit more cut.
"She finished well and ran her race. She never lets us down.
"It was a course record time - 55 seconds. I thought we were quick when we won it with Mecca's Angel, but we weren't that quick!"
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