Battaash after winning the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (Credit: York Racecourse)
BY SPORTING LIFE, UK
Battaash won the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes for the second successive season - although only after a scare at York.
Jim Crowley was riding his fourth winner - from as many races - on the afternoon and always had his rivals down the centre of the track covered on the 1/2 favourite.
However by the stands' rail Que Amoro (22/1) had shown brilliant speed under Paul Mulrennan and as Battaash drifted towards his rival, Crowley had to get urgent.
He eventually forged clear inside the distance and went to score by a length despite the filly's brave rally.
Moss Gill (22/1) was back in third.
Hills told ITV Racing: “Relief is the right word. It’s not easy conditions out there. There’s a massive tailwind, the ground is loose – and obviously not ideal for him.
“He had to knuckle down and get the job done- and he did that. All credit to everyone, and Jim rode him perfectly.”
Crowley added: “He’s an amazing horse. We’re lucky to have him about. He had to dig very deep. That horse was hard to pass. We went one hell of a gallop – there’s a tailwind, the wind is blowing across the track towards the stands rail.
“For him, he doesn’t normally have to battle. He usually has his races won sat halfway, but today he stuck his neck out and battled it out.
“It was a Catch 22. It was a bit of an outsider, and I had to try not to give it enough rope. Anyway we got it just right.”
Michael Dods reflected with pride on such a fine run in defeat from his filly Que Amoro.
The County Durham trainer said: “She would have preferred faster ground, and so would he, but I didn’t think we’d get that close – so she’s run a blinder. To get that close to a horse like that is a hell of a performance.
“She’s seriously quick – when she ran here the other month, because the ground had gone a bit, we half-saved her to get home. I said to (jockey) Paul (Mulrennan) to take no prisoners today, to just go – because that’s the only way to ride her. She burns horses off.
“She’s not in the Abbaye – we decided we wouldn’t put her in, and if she ran a big race here we’d supplement her. With what’s going on, we didn’t know what would happen, but that is probably where she’d go.”