Battaash retires: Goodwood boss pays tribute

Goodwood officials have been quick to pay tribute to Battaash as one of the legends of recent Glorious festivals faces up to retirement.

Saturday, 31st July 2021, 9:31 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd August 2021, 9:04 am
Battaash during the second of his four King George Stakes wins, this in 2018, with his usual rider Jim Crowley on board / Picture: Getty

Connections decided Battaash would race no more after his bid for an historic fifth straight King George Stakes title at Goodwood ended in a seventh place finish.

His loss on Friday will have done nothing to diminish his standing in the eyes of Goodwood regulars, who have taken him to their hearts since his domination of the big day-four Group 2 race began in 2017.

Goodwood racecourse director Jon Barnett said: "We now know that Friday saw the legendary sprinter Battaash run his last race before retirement. Glory in four consecutive King George Qatar Stakes make him one of the best horses we have seen in British racing in recent times and his achievements also mark him out as one of the fastest horses we have seen on the South Downs.

"In 2020, he broke the Goodwood course record over five furlongs, a time unlikely to be beaten for many years to come."

Trainer Charlie Hills told the Racing Post Battaash's racing career had been 'a great trip, a hell of a journey' - adding: "We had six years and he was at the top of his game. He had 25 starts and was out of the first four just three times. He's had a top career and this weekend has been emotional.

"His Abbaye win as a three-year-old was probably the standout. That was pretty special, but there were obviously his Nunthorpe victories as well and winning at Royal Ascot. That was a big moment as he'd been beaten in the race twice and then won it.

"It was great having a horse like him who kept going for so long. They don't come around very often, certainly in our stable anyway when a lot of them finish at three or four. To have him for so long meant he became very close to everyone at the yard and my family as well, my wife Pip and my sons James and Eddie. It'll be tough. He's the horse of a lifetime."