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Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Bigger, better and all set for York's sprint showdown

The Lambourn trainer talks about his runners

Battaash (striped cap) wins the King George at Goodwood last time out
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York is a great track and it’s put on fantastic prize-money for the Ebor meeting, so it’s a thrill to be involved in one of the three Group 1 races there with a leading chance in Battaash.

He clashes with King’s Stand winner Lady Aurelia in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (3.35) on Friday.

I’ve been really pleased with him since he won the King George Stakes at Goodwood and I think he looks a bigger horse; he’s got a lot more confidence.

Hopefully it’ll be fast ground so there won’t be too many excuses for us or Lady Aurelia.

We’ve fewer worries on easier ground given the way he handled it at Goodwood, but I still think Battaash will be better on faster ground. He coped with it softer last time and I don’t know if Lady Aurelia would be that way, but I’d sooner have fast ground. I’d also like to be drawn near her.

I’m not taking anything away from the other horses either because there are some Group 1 winners behind us in the betting and we need to be at the top of our game.

I described Battaash as a bull in a china shop earlier in his career, but he’s getting better all the time. That said, York’s not an easy lead-up in the preliminaries with the stables across the track, so we’ll box him over instead of walking.

Battaash could be joined by Cotai Glory, although he is also in the Listed Play On Your Mobile Hopeful Stakes (4.25) at Newmarket on Saturday.

The Nunthorpe has great prize-money, but it will be a tough race and the Newmarket contest is over 6f, which is worth exploring with him again. I’ll speak to the owners and wherever he goes he’s in good order.

Jallota is also in line for an appearance on Friday in the Group 3 Sky Bet City Of York Stakes (3.00).

He loves York and has run some of his best races there. It’s going to be a full field, but he’s one of the higher-rated horses and I think he’ll be knocking on the door.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the horse as he’s come out of the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood really well and it’s probably the best he’s looked since I’ve had him, while any rain wouldn’t be a problem for him.

Nor would it be for Porth Swtan and Newborough in the British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden Stakes (4.15).

I think Porth Swtan would have a great chance. He’s improved since his last run, when he was unlucky not to win at Chester, and is a very nice horse.

However, it’s a £70,000 maiden with bonuses as well, so it’s not going to be easy. There’d be Listed races less competitive and last year Rivet, who went on to win the Racing Post Trophy, won it.

Newborough is a lovely horse. He was a beautiful yearling but just had a couple of setbacks earlier in the year, so he might just need a run. I’d have thought he would enjoy a bit of cut in the ground.

Plutonian and Balestra, who are entered in the Nationwide Accident Repair Services Handicap (4.50), want it quick, though. I’ve been dying to run Balestra, but every time we’ve made an entry it’s bucketed down. They’re capable with the right conditions.

On Friday I’ve put Qafilah in the TRM Excellence In Equine Nutrition EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes (2.05) at Newmarket.

It looks quite a competitive maiden, but she needs to run. There are a couple in there with some nice form, but my father Barry trained Qafilah’s dam, Janina, who was quite precocious, so let’s hope that rubs off.

Drumochter will probably join her there in the Equine Supplements You Can Trust Handicap (3.45) and won nicely last time out. She went up 6lb, though, so will need to improve.

Moorside runs in the Thoroughbred Breeders Association Fillies’ Handicap (4.55). She had a few entries last week, but we waited and a fillies’ handicap over 1m6f looks good for her.

Down at Goodwood, Mutajawel and Institution are in the EBF Maiden Stakes (5.45).

They’ll jump out of the stalls this week and we’ll see how that goes, but they are two nice, good-looking horses, although it is hard to win first time out.

Mulhimatty has been off since May and could return in Goodwood’s Thames Materials Ltd EBF Fillies’ Handicap (7.15), but she wouldn’t want it too soft. There’s been nothing wrong with her and we’ve just given her some time.

The reason I didn’t run Traveller last week was that I thought it would come a bit quick for him, but he’s in the Thames Materials Ltd Handicap (7.45) on Goodwood’s card. He’s coming along okay.

Kareva, who is in Salisbury’s Bathwick Tyres Novice Auction Stakes (5.50) on Friday and has other options this week, is up to winning, but we’ll just try to pick the right spot with the best ground.

The Big Short ran well at Nottingham last week and the Viessman Handicap (5.35) at Ffos Las on Friday might not come too soon. It looks a good race for him.

We’ve fewer worries on easier ground given the way he handled it at Goodwood, but I still think he'll be better on faster ground
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