Charlie Hills happy with Battaash ahead of historic hat-trick bid in King George Stakes at Qatar Goodwood Festival
Charlie Hills has shrugged off Battaash’s defeat to Blue Point in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
And the Lambourn trainer insists his five-year-old son of Dark Angel remains on course to make history at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Battaash will aim to become the first horse to win three King George Stakes titles on the Downs when he goes into battle on Friday, August 2.
Pulborough jockey Jim Crowley has steered the bay gelding to glory in the exhilarating five-furlong tear-up in each of the past two seasons.
Now a six-time winner in Group company, Battaash will return on the back of a narrow defeat to Blue Point in Berkshire – just as he did last summer.
This time the 2/1-favourite went down by a length-and-a-quarter as Soldier’s Call finished third and Mabs Cross was fourth.
Hills said: ‘I think he probably just got a little bit outstayed again.
‘This race is just testing his stamina a bit.
‘He was drawn wide and unfortunately the horse (Houtzen) we thought was going to take us on early into the race slipped out of the stalls.
‘We just got a little bit detached from the rest and he had to make his move a little early but he ran a really good race.
‘The race worked out how we envisaged it.
‘We will go to Goodwood now for the King George.’
Battaash is one of eight horses, including Take Cover, who has won the King George Stakes on two occasions.