New star reaching potential after drastic measure stopped bad behaviour
Battaash is one of the most exciting sprinters around and has everything you could possibly want in a stallion – talent, looks, a wonderful pedigree and an ever-improving race record.
However, there is one catch – the horse who looks to have everything is not actually quite the complete package.
For while Battaash has slammed everything that has tried to live with him on the course this season, he has only done so after being gelded last summer. A bittersweet situation for connections, no doubt, given how appealing he would be to breeders keen on fast sires.
"The easy thing would be to say 'Yes, now he's a good sprinter it's a pity that he's a gelding’," said Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Hamdan Al Maktoum. "But the problem is, in my humble opinion, without gelding him we wouldn't have the sprinter we now do."
And that is the problem horses like Battaash present. Do you allow them to remain a colt and try to make the best out of them with the difficulties that entails, or do you make the cut to try to get the racehorse to flourish?
When it came to Battaash, he made the decision easier than it might have been.
"He was not a nice person to deal with or be around before we did it, but a lot of thought always goes into it," Gold said. "Ultimately he wouldn't have been like he is now if he was a colt. Of course, Sheikh Hamdan would love him to be an entire but he knows he couldn't be.
"He just behaved appallingly all last year. He won his maiden at Bath then at Royal Ascot he went up in the stalls three times and nearly killed poor Paul Hanagan. And he kept doing everything wrong. He'd pull hard and he'd hang and he wouldn't put his efforts the right way at all. He had to be gelded."
He was, and now he is doing everything anyone ever wanted him to do. The bonus for all concerned is that they can enjoy him for a good while yet, with those pesky mares no longer a temptation like they were for Muhaarar, a sprinter who starred for trainer Charlie Hills and Sheikh Hamdan in 2015.
Gold said: "Battaash has made up for [being gelded] by becoming a super sprinter. He's still not a child's ride, but he's much better to deal with and he's growing up and fulfilling his potential.
"He'd have never done that without being gelded and when you've owned as many racehorses as Sheikh Hamdan has you know the ones who need some extra attention."
Three geldings who would have made desirable stallions
Brilliantly fast and brilliantly talented, Limato would be just the sort of horse breeders would be falling over themselves to send a mare too. However, his behaviour meant gelding was the only option.
A dual Group 1-winner, including at Royal Ascot, and from a fast, talented family. The Tin Man has a lot going for him as a stallion prospect. Apart from the fact he is not a colt, of course.
By Sea The Stars and out of a mare twice placed at Group 1 level, Mutakayyef has the pedigree, looks and talent to shine at stud. Alas, it is not to be.
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