Suesa swamps Battaash and company

Suesa winning the King George Stakes at Goodwood (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)
16:56pm, Fri 30 Jul 2021
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Goodwood favourite Battaash was unable to record a fifth successive victory in the King George Qatar Stakes as Suesa claimed top honours for France.

The Charlie Hills-trained Battaash had made the Group Two contest his own in the recent seasons and was the 2-1 favourite to add to his tally off the back of finishing fourth on his belated reappearance when defending his crown in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot.

The seven-year-old travelled strongly for much of the five-furlong journey under regular partner Jim Crowley, but his finishing effort was ultimately short lived and he weakened late on to finish a well-beaten seventh.

Having won her first four races in her homeland, Francois Rohaut’s Suesa was the market leader for the Commonwealth Cup at the Royal meeting last month, but could finish only eighth.

But the 7-1 shot bounced right back to form on the Sussex Downs, rocketing home from the rear in the hands of William Buick to score by three lengths.

Dragon Symbol was best of the rest, again having to make do with minor honours after being demoted to the runner-up spot in the Commonwealth Cup and finishing second in the July Cup at Newmarket.

James Wigan, racing manager for Suesa’s owner, George Strawbridge, said: “We thought she was very good before Ascot, and then the rain came and the ground was bottomless.

Suesa earns a well-deserved pat from William Buick (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

“She just couldn’t act on it, luckily we took her home and she was OK.

“Her form in France before was very impressive, but we didn’t know what she’d be like over here.

“There aren’t really many deep races, sprint Group races, in France in the summer, so this was the obvious place to come.”

Looking to future plans, Wigan said: “As for a run at York (in the Nunthorpe), it depends what she is like when she gets back. She’ll have had quite a lot of travelling, coming here and then going back, then coming again having already done Ascot. The Abbaye will be the obvious target.

“There is a very good chance she will stay in training next year as the owner is very much a sportsman.”

Buick was thoroughly impressed with Suesa.

He said: “She’s an absolute sweetheart. I rode her in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, but the ground was very bad and I learned a lot from her that day.

“She’s full of speed and was coming back to five (furlongs) today and she travelled through the race so smoothly, she was hard on the bridle the whole way and she has that good kick at the finish.

“Today was perfect conditions for her, Mr Rohaut was adamant she was in good shape and I spoke to Olivier Peslier about her as well who told me a thing or two about her.

“It was great to get the ride and she’s a very good filly.”

Oisin Murphy was aboard the Archie Watson-trained runner-up: “Dragon Symbol is better than that. It’s a shame the good ones weren’t drawn beside him, we followed the wrong ones.”

Kevin Ryan said of third home Glass Slippers, who making her seasonal reappearance after winning at the Breeders’ Cup: “I am absolutely delighted.

“She came there travelling very strongly. We would like to have got a racecourse gallop into her, but the ground has been so firm everywhere. We didn’t want to risk doing that. We knew coming here she was going to need the run. We can look forward to the rest of the year now.

“We will have a chat over the weekend, but we will generally take the same sort of route, the race in Ireland (Flying Five Stakes, Group One) I would imagine will be on the agenda. It will be a nice chat to have on Sunday morning.”

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