31 July 2021

Crowley salutes ‘horse of a lifetime’ Battaash

31 July 2021

Jim Crowley will never forget Battaash’s Nunthorpe victory at York in 2019 in a long list of memories he can treasure of the newly-retired sprinter.

The fact Battaash beat the legendary Dayjur’s course record, also owned owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, and that his late boss was present on the Knavesmire that afternoon made it extra special.

Crowley only missed one of Battaash’s races since their association began in August 2017.

“He’s been an unbelievable horse for everyone involved and Charlie Hills has done a fantastic job with him,” he said.

Jim Crowley had some of his best days in the saddle on Battaash (Alan Crowhurst/PA) (PA Archive)

“Bob Grace deserves a special mention for looking after him until his retirement and his new lad Bluey (Cannon), too.

“He’s been the horse of a lifetime and I’ll miss him dearly. To get a buzz like you got off him is very difficult to find.

“He was so fast – too fast for his own good sometimes, but it was always exciting riding him.”

But there was one day in particular that Crowley highlighted as the crowning moment of his career.

“The day he won the Nunthorpe I will never forget as long as I live, it was a special day,” he said.

“He silenced a few of his critics that day and broke Dayjur’s record, and Sheikh Hamdan was on track that day at York. There are lots of reasons that made it a special day.

“He was very good when he won the Prix de l’Abbaye and he loved Goodwood as well. It was also lovely to win the King’s Stand with him because Ascot wasn’t a track that played to his strengths with its stiff finish, as he was a speed horse.

“The Nunthorpe day was something else, though.”

Sheikh Hamdan greets Battaash after he broke the track record at York (Simon Cooper/PA) (PA Wire)

The first day Crowley rode him on track was Battaash’s first win in the King George at Goodwood in 2017 – and he felt even then he was on something special.

“For sure that first day at Goodwood I got an idea he could be something special, but sometimes he was his own worst enemy,” said Crowley.

“He lost the plot at York the first year, but when he was good he was very good. He won the Temple one day and went through the field like a hot knife through butter.

Along with Enable and Stradivarius he has lit up the last few Flat seasons

“He was a special horse, I’ve got lots of fond memories of him. He was a very kind horse as well, he was part of the family for Charlie, his kids loved him. I’ll miss riding him.

“Along with Enable and Stradivarius he has lit up the last few Flat seasons. It’s very hard for a sprinter to be so dominant, because in a lot of the races you could run them five times and get five different results.

“He was a testament to Charlie and his team, Bob and everyone did such a great job. It’s been a lovely ride and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I feel very lucky to have come across a horse like that and he’ll have a happy retirement I’m sure.”

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