Battaash produces best effort on the clock at Goodwood
The elements had a major impact on last week’s Qatar Goodwood Festival making clockwatching even more complicated than normal, but despite the weather there were still some notable time performances with Battaash producing the best effort of the whole week in Friday’s King George Stakes.
On officially soft ground Charlie Hills’ rising star covered the five furlongs in an electrifying 58.51 seconds just 1.61 secs slower than Racing Post standard and, after applying the going correction, his scintillating display warranted a Topspeed figure of 112, the pick of the meeting.
Considering the ground it was an outstanding time and his electrifying pace enabled him to brush aside older rivals with ease. Having lowered the 5f track record at Sandown earlier in the year, he is clearly versatile regarding going and if in similar form will pose a real threat to the brilliant Lady Aurelia in the Nunthorpe at York later this month.
She too disposed of older rivals in the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot, beating par by 1.55 secs and an explosive clash between these two could light up the Knavesmire.
Underfoot conditions had been much better on Tuesday and Stradivarius (105) highlighted his St Leger prospects with a clear-cut success in the Goodwood Cup. Winner of the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, John Gosden’s improving three-year-old took full advantage of a healthy weight-for-age allowance and was well on top at the finish. He clearly stays, won over ten furlongs earlier in the year and a strong gallop on Town Moor should play to his strengths.
Expert Eye (103) slammed his rivals in the Vintage Stakes in a time only 0.35 secs slower than that clocked by older horses in the Lennox Stakes and, after applying weight for age, emerges with a speed rating of 103, putting Sir Michael Stoute’s exciting youngster among the leading lights on this timepiece.
The heavens opened on Wednesday turning the ground very soft and there was a lot to like about Havana Grey (99) in the Molecomb Stakes.
Hugging the stands’ rail, Karl Burke’s youngster was never headed and the Prix Morny could be his next target.
Here Comes When (93) sprang a surprise in a thrilling finale to the Sussex Stakes and the form should be treated circumspectly.
The ground was still taxing on Thursday and the runners had a strong headwind to contend with as well.
In the opening Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Good Omen (98) recorded a time 1.39sec faster than that of Winter (81) in the Nassau Stakes, although too much should not be read into that as the latter was run at a moderate early pace.
Battaash aside, Beat The Bank (104) deserves credit for his clear-cut success in Friday’s Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes. Andrew Balding’s progressive three-year-old had a bit left in the locker and his time of 1m 40.83s was 0.31s quicker than that clocked by Master The World (98) in the competitive Betfred Mile. The Celebration Mile over course and distance later in the month could be his next port of call.
On Saturday Lancelot Du Lac (102) hot-footed to a deserved victory in the Stewards’ Cup and Crystal Ocean (62) was a worthy winner of the Gordon Stakes, although with only a handful of runners the time was modest at best.
From a time perspective, Dee Ex Bee (89) was probably the one to take from the day in the Qatar EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes. Mark Johnston’s newcomer made most of the running in the 7f contest and found plenty as the pack tried to close. They finished well strung out and his Champagne Stakes entry at Doncaster next month looks well worth it. He obviously needs to improve but could be a major player on Town Moor.
Whispered Kiss (75) earned the best figures on Newmarket’s Saturday card. Mike Murphy, pictured below, has an improving filly on his hands and she could grab her hat-trick in the 7.45 at Yarmouth on Wednesday.
Outsiders Florenza (54) and Moonlightnavigator (52) shared the spoils in Saturday’s Thirsk Hunt Cup which, for a valuable and competitive handicap, was run at a modest pace. The form may prove misleading.