Battaash back in business

Star sprinter Battaash made a winning start to his four-year-old campaign in a close finish to the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock.

Battaash (10-11 favourite) was not the best away, but made up ground with the stands rail to help, although he was on the opposite side of the course to Kachy, who set a blistering pace on the far side ahead of Just Glamorous.

Last year’s Abbaye hero showed his class as he hit the front in the final furlong under Dane O’Neill, but Charlie Hills’ charge was challenged late by Aidan O’Brien’s Washington DC, who snatched second spot from Kachy.

Hills said: “He jumped slowly today, which meant he got a lead, which helped, but they were spread across the track and the race developed away from us.

“He got a bit tired in the last half-furlong, but we’ve left a bit to work on and this was always a prep.

“It was his first run and he hasn’t even come in his coat yet. Giving 5lb to some very good horses was always going to be hard.

“There are a few things we can learn from heading to Ascot (King’s Stand Stakes), but he’s given some good horses weight and a beating – Kachy is a very good horse.

“Whatever the ground is doesn’t bother him, he’s broken track records and won an Abbaye on soft.”

O’Neill said: “The race developed away from us, which didn’t help.

“He’ll improve a lot for that, he hasn’t even come in his coat yet and it’s a long season.”