Battaash could head stateside for Breeders' Cup assignment

Battaash won the Nunthorpe Stakes for the second year running last month.
Battaash won the Nunthorpe Stakes for the second year running last month.

Charlie Hills is seriously considering a tilt at this year's Breeders’ Cup with his star sprinter Battaash. 

The six-year-old has been in the form of his life so far this season, winning all three of his starts, including last month’s Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York's Ebor Festival. 

Battaash has been defeated in both of his attempts in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp, but he was victorious in the race in 2017 when it was held at Chantilly, and his connections will be hopeful of redemption following a perfect campaign to date.

The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint falls just shy of five weeks after the Abbaye on Saturday 7th November, and Hills has revealed that he hasn’t completely ruled out going Stateside with his charge - provided that he comes out of his next assignment in good order. 

He told Sky Sports Racing: “He’s only had three runs this year. He’s fresh, he’s well and is in great shape. I couldn’t be more pleased will how Battaash is training. 

“He looks very proud at what he is doing, and his enthusiasm levels are great. As long as the ground stays reasonably good for France then that’s where we’ll go.”

“If he was really impressive in the Abbaye and he’s fit and well, we’ll have to speak to Sheikh Hamdan and he’ll make the decision.”

We're yet to see a European-trained winner of the Turf Sprint since its inception in 2007, but Battaash would likely be a warm order in the betting if he took his chance. 

And Hills noted that next year’s plans could be tweaked if he did indeed head across the Atlantic; 

“He won at Royal Ascot first time out this year so why can’t he have his first run at Ascot again next year. There are plenty of routes to take.

“Battaash is the most important thing to us – his health and wellbeing. That is what we’ll train him for.”

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