Einstein is said to have defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, but the connections of Battaash seem keen to put his theory to the test after the gelding’s third consecutive success in the King George V Stakes here on Friday by moving on to York for another attempt to win the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes.

The same path led only to disappointment in 2017 and 2018. Two years ago, after annihilating his field at Goodwood, Battaash was edgy and sweating from the moment he entered the paddock York, then all but refused to go into the stalls and finished only fourth of 11. On his next start, he was impeccably behaved and won the Group One Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly by four lengths.

Last season, Battaash was again devastating at Goodwood, and set off at odds-on for the Nunthorpe. Again, he failed to deliver. But having won Goodwood’s Group Two once again in typically decisive style, York remains the only logical place to go, Einstein notwithstanding.

“I’m quite emotional,” Charlie Hills, Battaash’s trainer, said. “He is a special horse. Jim [Crowley, his jockey] said he seemed to be idling in front, which is good because he is taking his racing much better and there are a good few races now we can target towards the end of the year.

“Sheikh Hamdan [his owner] is keen to go to York next.He has not won there before, but I still scratch my head because there is no reason why he would not handle a track like that. Then we will probably go to Ireland [for the Flying Five in September] after that.

“There are only so many Group Ones over five furlongs, so he’s got to go back to York. He was only beaten a couple of lengths last year. In the past though, we’ve driven him up the night before, and I think this time we’ll take him up on the morning of the race..”

Battaash is top-priced at 5-2 favourite to make it third time lucky at York, with Ten Sovereigns, the July Cup winner, next in the betting at 3-1. Mabs Cross, who was more than two lengths in front of Battaash when she was narrowly edged out by Alpha Delphini in the same race last year, is a 5-1 chance and it is 8-1 bar.

“He was not as visually impressive today as last year,” Crowley said. “He wasn’t doing a lot in front and I never used my stick on him today, just hands and heels. If I had given him a reminder, he might have been more impressive, but I really didn’t want him to go on and win by five or six lengths and have a harder race than he needed to.

“He’s all speed and he probably only just gets five furlongs. If there were four-and-a-half furlong races around, he’d be unbelievable.”

 

 

 

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