CHAMPION jockey Jim Crowley is confident of pulling off a big race double when he partners the progressive Battaash in today’s Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York, the Ebor Festival’s third-day feature.
The rider warmed up for today’s Group One sprint, and his horse’s mouth-watering clash with American speedster Lady Aurelia, by winning Wednesday’s Juddmonte International on Ulysses.
Battaash could not have been more impressive when streaking clear to win Goodwood’s King George Stakes – the vanquished on rain-softened ground included the David Griffiths-trained 10-year-old Take Cover who reopposes today.
The Charlie Hills-trained three-year-old showed the same zest that Crowley had experienced on the gallops earlier in the summer.
“I pulled him out in his work and he was gone – it was a great feeling,” he said last night.
“He’s not overly big, but he’s just got such a high cruising speed.
What impressed me at Goodwood was the way he coped with the ground because there’s always a doubt in your mind when a horse has got so much speed.Jockey Jim Crowley
“What impressed me at Goodwood was the way he coped with the ground because there’s always a doubt in your mind when a horse has got so much speed. He’d broken the track record at Sandown the time before.”
Of his chief market rival, Crowley said: “Fillies can be a little in and out, plus she has to cope with the travelling backwards and forwards, but what she’s done so far, she has been impressive.
“She’s a very fast filly and it’s going to be a great race.”
Frankie Dettori, however, could not be more bullish about the prospects of the Wesley Ward-trained Lady Aurelia who is a dual Royal Ascot winner.
“I would say she is the one to beat after what she’s done,” said the charismatic Italian, who rode the filly in a piece of work on Knavesmire last Friday.
“I think York will suit her as she’s got tremendous speed and typically American horses like a flat track. York might suit her better than Ascot.”
Mark Johnston’s Soldier In Action has been left at the head of the weights for tomorrow’s Betfred Ebor at York.
The four-year-old has a 4lb penalty for a valuable win at Gooodwood three weeks ago.
Jedd O’Keeffe’s Lord Yeats, Saeed bin Suroor’s Winning Story, Eve Johnson Houghton’s Scarlet Dragon and Mick Channon’s Elidor are all towards the top of the weights.
Sir Mark Prescott has declared the ante-post favourite Flymetothestars, while Josephine Gordon rides Dubka for Sir Michael Stoute.
Seamour and Wild Hacked are sure to have their followers too.
Magic Circle, a winner at York on Wednesday, was the last of the 20 runners to make the cut.