Charlie Hills has confirmed that Battaash will be aimed at the Prix de l’Abbaye in October for his next start. The star-sprinter produced the best effort of his career to date last week as he blitzed his rivals to win the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York, smashing a 30-year-old course record on the Knavesmire in doing so.
The Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned five-year-old was being considered for next month’s Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh on Irish Champions Weekend, but Hills has decided against that race. The five-year-old is instead being given some time to get over his blistering display at York.
“Battaash is not going to go to Ireland for the Flying Five – he’ll go straight to the Abbaye,” Hills confirmed. “I’ve just spoken to Sheikh Hamdan and we’re slightly conscious that when he put in a performance like he did at York last week, it’s got to take a little bit out of him.”
Battaash won the Abbaye at Chantilly two years ago before finishing fourth to Mabs Cross when the race returned to Longchamp last year. His French return is now front and centre, with the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in America an end of term possibility before the gelding goes away for a winter break.
“We think the Abbaye’s a great race and he’s won it before, so we want to concentrate on that,” added Hills. “It leaves the Breeders’ Cup open if we win there or happen to run well. I’m really happy with him and he’s put all of his weight back on, and a bit more. He looks terrific and I couldn’t be more pleased.”