King George Qatar Stakes preview: Battaash impossible to oppose for Glorious Goodwood hat-trick

Published on: July 31, 2019
Author: Jamie Clark
2019 King George Qatar Stakes preview features dual race winner Battaash

Battaash has won the feature Group 2 King George Qatar Stakes sprint contest at Glorious Goodwood in each of the last two seasons, so is a long odds-on favourite to do so again on Friday (15:35).

Charlie Hills’ stable star was impressive in recording both of those victories. Battaash has had the exact same prep for this as last season – making a winning return to action in the Group 2 Sandy Lane at Haydock.

That punched the five-year-old Dark Angel gelding’s ticket to Royal Ascot where he ran into old rival Blue Point in the Group 1 King’s Stand.

Battaash twice chased home the now retired sprint king, but bounced back in style when eased in grade here both 12 months ago.

His second King George Qatar Stakes success was even more taking than the first. In 2017, Battaash scored by 2 1/4 lengths but last year romped home in near record time by four lengths.

Although disappointing the Group 1 Nunthorpe when fourth in consecutive years at York’s Ebor Festival, the Knavesmire just doesn’t suit him.

This is by far the most happy hunting ground for Battaash. On all known form he sets a clear standard, and is officially 12lb and upwards better than the field.

As Battaash only gives a maximum of 9lb weight-for-age, penalties and allowances away, he still comes out 4lb and above clear on adjusted ratings.

The King George Qatar Stakes is at his mercy. Battaash is a prohibitive price of 1/3 with Bethard as a result, but he simply can’t be opposed for the hat-trick here.

He’s fully expected to follow suit from Stradivarius earlier this week and be a triple Glorious Goodwood winner.

El Astronaute a solid each-way alternative

Betting value instead lies on who joins Battaash in the frame. El Astronaute is the closest on official ratings to the red-hot jolly and the clear pick of fellow older horses.

Trained by John Quinn, the six-year-old has run well under some big weights over in Ireland of late.

After landing a Listed contest at Cork by three-quarters of a length, El Astronaute dropped back into handicap company and plundered the valuable Rockingham.

He defied top weight in that Premier Handicap during the Irish Derby Festival to follow-up by a cosy length.

El Astronaute was then far from disgraced when a 3 1/2 lengths runner-up to Soffia in a Group 2 at The Curragh giving her 3lb.

That shows he can hang in this grade. Although El Astronaute still has 9lb to find with Battaash on adjusted ratings, it’s less than most in the 11-runner field.

It makes him one to consider for the forecast. El Astronaute looks solid each-way value at 15/2 with Boylesports in this King George Qatar Stakes renewal.

Another older horse that will fancy his chances of a hand in the finish is Tim Easterby’s Copper Knight.

He ran a fine race off top weight in the Gosforth Park Handicap at Newcastle when beaten just three-quarters of a length.

As Copper Knight was giving the winner 17lb, it was a huge effort. The five-year-old went one better last time out when landing the Listed 5f City Walls Stakes at York.

This demands more and Copper Knight still has a whole stone to find with Battaash on adjusted ratings. Odds of 20/1 with Betfred are generous, however.

Big Brothers Pride has plenty going for her

Of the three-year-olds, French raider Big Brothers Pride is the clear ratings pick and unexposed.

Trained by Francoise Rohaut, this Invincible Spirit filly is also lightly-raced and progressive.

After making all to win easing down by a couple of lengths on her sole start as a juvenile, Big Brothers Pride shaped as though needing the run on reappearance.

That came on the all-weather course at Chantilly in an extended 6f Listed affair where she weakened after being headed in the last 150 yards.

Connections dropped Big Brothers Pride back in trip and switched her back to turf. She made the step up in grade to Group 3 company look effortless last time out when again making all and bolting up by four lengths.

The fifth filly home, Ilanga, has since come out and won another Group 3, so that boosts the form. Big Brothers Pride is open to tons of further improvement and may have been laid out for a crack at this.

With Oisin Murphy now taking over in the saddle, everything points to her taking this further step up in grade in her stride.

Big Brothers Pride thus looks the best value each-way punt in this year’s King George Qatar Stakes at 14/1 with William Hill on these terms.

She has the least to find – just 4lb – with Battaash on adjusted ratings, so looks overpriced on that basis and also in relation to El Astronaute.

The assessor has just 1lb between them on official figures, yet Big Brothers Pride gets 6lb from him and 9lb off the favourite.