Having lowered Dayjur’s Nunthorpe track record over 5f at York, Sheikh Hamdan’s Battaash was expected to right the wrong of his illustrious predecessor’s Breeders’ Cup defeat. However, connections have decided against a trip to Santa Anita after the 5yo proved a major disappointment when sent off favourite in the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp. It was only the second time in his 20 races that Battaash had finished out of the first four and with no physical reason emerging in post race tests, trainer Charlie Hills has decided against another run in the Turf Sprint, for which he remained favourite despite his heavy defeat in Paris. “He’s not going and he’s gone on his holidays instead,” said the Lambourn trainer. “It’s a bit of a shame but it’s very hard to go there off the back of how he ran.
Hopefully there will be another year.” Hills revealed nothing had come to light after the race and that the gelded son of Dark Angel will have a similar campaign in 2020. He said: “He’s come out of it really fresh. We gave him a good look over and couldn’t find anything wrong with him, so I just think it had to be the ground. I don’t think the draw helped very much either. “We’ll freshen him up over the winter and we’ll bring him back in the spring. I’d have thought he’ll have a similar campaign because it’s pretty set in stone now.”
Battaash will be joined on his holidays at Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Stud by another gelding who will be back for more next season, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Lockinge and Challenge Stakes winner Mustashry. He was among the favourites for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, but Sheikh Hamdan’s racing manager Angus Gold said the sheikh will not be having any British-trained runners at Santa Anita next month.