York Races: Battaash bad boys day behind him as Jim Crowley and Charlie Hills buzzing for Nunthorpe at Ebor Festival

York Races: Battaash bad boys day behind him as Jim Crowley and Charlie Hills buzzing for Nunthorpe at Ebor Festival

JIM Crowley has warned his York rivals that Battaash could yet be getting even quicker.

After breaking another track record at Glorious Goodwood, Crowley and trainer Charlie Hills are out to make it back-to-back Nunthorpes.

The Battmobile as he has been nicknamed turned six this season, but that hasn’t slowed him down – far from it.

Crowley laughed: “He is just unbelievable to ride – he’s certainly not getting any slower!

“You forget just what it’s like to ride him. I sat on him before Ascot for the first time in a while and I just couldn’t stop grinning the whole way home.

“I’m almost just a passenger on him, and you only need to ask for something late in the day.”

After agonising defeats in the 2017 and 2018 Nunthorpes, Battaash has now put that hoodoo behind him.

A change in attitude and an end to his bad boy days early in his career has seen him dominate the sprinting division.

Even a barking dog down at the start in the 2018 Nunthorpe was enough for Battaash to boil over.

But after winning last year’s renewal at York, he broke his Royal Ascot duck this summer before lowering another record in the King George at Glorious Goodwood.

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Hills said: “He’s almost like a pet to us now, we call him ‘Batty’ at the yard.

“He’s so much more professional now and his routine works brilliantly. Everyone loves him at home and he’s such a pampered pet!

“A lot can always go wrong in sprints, we know that, and another blip could always be on the cards.

“But he’s far from what he used to be like. As a three-year-old it was just about getting him to the start in one piece.

“Then the dog was barking down at the stalls and that seemed to really wind him up.

“But I think we’ve got all those things covered now and that’s why we’re seeing the results we are.”

And former jumps jockey Crowley is just buzzing to be re-united with his favourite horse.

Battaash faces seven in today’s Group 1 – part of the QIPCO 2020 British Champions Series – but Crowley is only concerned with his horse.

He said: “I’ll wake up on Friday and I’ll be buzzing.

“I’m hoping as much of the rain stays away as possible though. He goes on the ground but it just makes it a bit harder for him.

“In the past, getting him to the start was the most important thing – getting him down calm.

“But touch wood, this year he's lobbed down to post at Ascot and Goodwood – Craig Witheford picks him up when he gets there, and it's all routine for him.

"Before, you'd get on him in the paddock, he'd be tensing up and you'd canter to post and he'd be grinding his teeth.

“He was like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off and wanted to do everything at a 100 miles per hour, but he's been so much more relaxed now."

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