Hills plans to keep lid on Battaash
Charlie Hills admits he's trying to hatch the best possible plan to keep Battaash under control before next week's Kings Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Battaash was a leading fancy in the Nunthorpe at York last August, but he all but blew his chance by getting worked up before the race and was never a threat in the closing stages as Marsha denied Lady Aurelia.
He went on to record a brilliant four-length winner of the Prix de l'Abbaye at Chantilly at the end of last season and will face Nunthorpe second Lady Aurelia in a mouth-watering King's Stand at Ascot next week.
Battaash is 9/4 to win the Group One sprint and his trainer is fully aware of the need to get him out of the starting gates without having become worked up.
"We're trying to find the right strategy to put the saddle on and bring him out late - there are things we've thought through. We'll try to go down nice and quiet and go down last, like he did at Chantilly and Haydock," said Hills.
"He's had a few niggly problems with the stalls so Craig and Gary Witheford will be with him as well. He'll go in late with a blindfold, too."
Wesley Ward's Lady Aurelia is 2/1 to defend her crown in the King's Stand as she bids for a hat-trick of Royal Ascot successes.
Battaash, who was victorious on his return at Haydock last month, underwent wind surgery after last season ended. His trainer feels it would make him very hard to beat at Ascot should it have improved him, though Hills concedes he is far from sure that is the case.
"The wind op happened over the winter, just a couple of weeks after he won the Abbaye," he told At The Races.
"If that has improved him, then he's going to be very hard to beat, but I don't think it's made much difference at all really."
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