Battaash burns brightly at York
Those who know me will tell you I am rarely lost for words. But after this week’s racing at York I am almost speechless. There were so many “WOW” moments that we could be asking in the future “do you remember where you were when Battaash (or Enable or Stradivarius) won at York?”
I will get to the two Gosden superstars in a bit but I have to start with Battaash.
He won the Nunthorpe by nearly four lengths. FOUR LENGTHS! In a race at the minimum distance. Oh, and he also broke the track record set by Dayjur nearly thirty years ago, becoming the first to go under fifty six seconds.
Since having wind surgery for the second time in January Battaash has only been beaten by the brilliant Blue Point. In the Nunthorpe he took the lead two out and the race was over in a dozen strides. He seems to be getting better and he is surely more mature in the preliminaries now. And as a five year old he may well be at his peak.
But as a gelding, and therefore with no stallion commitments, he can keep going, possibly for a few more years. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?
But next up could be the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp which is a race he won in 2017 by four lengths. Until his latest win that was his best performance on the clock, and his second best on Racing Post Ratings. I am not sure I will be putting anyone off him even at a shade of odds on. There is also talk of the Breeders Cup which would see him negotiating a bend. But I am sure connections will bathe in the glow of a superb victory for now.
Stradivarius did it again. Another Lonsdale and another million pound bonus. He just refuses to be beaten.
Silvestre De Souza on Dee Ex Bee, obviously on Matt Chapman’s orders, quickened earlier and still got overhauled by the star stayer.
That is nine successive victories for the son of Sea The Stars. He is in the betting for the Arc and if he does show up he could be a very good each way bet.
I am not sure what more can be said about Enable. A four runner race could have been tricky for the mare as pace could have been an issue.
But Frankie Dettori is not top of his profession by accident. He popped her out and dictated the pace. She was not for passing and she was not fully extended. Frankie was in tears afterwards (but then so was I) and if this was to be her last run in Britain then those who were there, and there were thousands who went just to say “I was there”, saw a special moment.
One other that needs to be mentioned is Mums Tipple. He destroyed the field in the Yearling Stakes, winning by eleven lengths. His time was also faster than that run in both the Lowther and the Gimcrack. And he was carrying five pounds more than the winners of both of those races. He looked very special.
I have just learned the racing world has suffered two massive losses.
Espoir D’Allen, the spectacular winner of this years Champion Hurdle has had to be put down. He suffered an injury to his shoulder and vets decided that euthanasia was the most humane thing. His fifteen length win was a record margin for the race and he was only the second five year old winner in thirty three years.
Roaring Lion, who we all hoped would recover from his two colic operations, finally succumbed after another bout of the deadly disease. He was a real champion and was the star of 2018.
Our thoughts go out to all connected with these wonderful horses.