Glorious Goodwood is set to take place next week, with fans and connections relishing the prospect of returning to the Sussex-based racecourse after last year’s meeting was forced to take place behind closed doors. Already, punters are checking out the Glorious Goodwood betting markets to find potential winners.
The penultimate day of the festival is known as King George Day, with the Group 2 namesake race the highlight of the day. Much like Stradivarius in the Goodwood Cup on opening day, Battaash appears unstoppable in the King George Stakes and will be looking to make it a fifth successive victory in the race. Let’s remind ourselves of some of those previous wins, and see who – if anyone – can stop the Charles Hills-trained gelding.
2018: Battaash Wins by Four Lengths
They say that the King George is one of the sprinting highlights, and Battaash recorded the fifth-best time of 56:50 seconds, in winning back-to-back races. Carrying the top weight, you wouldn’t have thought it as the four-year-old, ridden by Jim Crowley led from the early stages on the outside, before coming inside of Take Cover. Two furlongs out, he asserted his dominance over the rest of the field, quickening to take the win by four lengths over his nearest rival. After the race, Hills said:
“He is an exceptional horse and I think that could well be a career-best.”
2019: Battaash Smashes Course Record
While his 2018 win was dominant, his 2019 victory was all the more impressive for the finish time. Once again, Battaash was disputing the lead from the get-go, and while he was a short-priced favourite, it wasn’t a huge winning margin. South African-bred Houtzen obviously didn’t get the memo and threatened going into the final furlong. But Crowley held on as Battaash raced to the finish line recording a new best time of 56:20 – the third-best of all time.
2020: Battaash Continues to Break Records
If the 2019 was impressive, Battaash continued his excellent form at Goodwood. Winning a fourth successive King George, he became the most successful horse in the race, also ensuring that Hills was among the leading trainers, alongside Jack Jarvis and Paddy Prendergast. And despite the race taking place behind closed doors, it was another red-hot performance from the sprinter, who smashed his previous time, finishing in under 56 seconds. Crowley was in the saddle for another memorable win, as Battaash raced home, two-and-a-quarter lengths clear of Glass Slippers, while 100/1 Ornate finished in third.
2021: Will Battaash be Triumphant Once More?
While the gelding has only raced once this season, finishing fourth in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, you simply cannot look beyond him – and he’s the clear favourite once again in the King George Qatar Stakes betting. Hills has already said he’s in excellent shape – despite that previous defeat, in which the trainer described his horse as “leg weary”.
Last year’s runner up Glass Slippers can be found at a price of 10/1, while the most likely to overthrow the record breaker is Dragon Symbol. The Archie Watson-trained colt has had quite the season so far, placing in every one of his six starts since March – all coming at races of six furlongs.