Racing

Battaash third-time lucky in Group 1 race

King's Stand Stakes winner among three victors for Crowley at Royal Ascot

Jockey Jim Crowley stole the show on the first day of Royal Ascot on Tuesday, riding three winners, including a sparkling victory on Battaash in the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes.

Battaash's win brought the 34-year-old the most joy and a sense of relief too, as the duo put behind them two previous runners-up spots in the race with a dominant performance.

Crowley's other wins came with Motakhayyel in the Buckingham Palace Handicap - one of the races added to this year's five-day meeting - and Nazeef in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.

Nazeef was winner No. 51 at the historic meeting for trainer John Gosden, whose 50th had come earlier with Frankie Dettori's only win of the day on Frankly Darling in the Ribblesdale Stakes.

Sadly for Crowley and Gosden, their feats took place before only a smattering of people, as spectators, including even owners, are not permitted to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting's patron and most-famous attendee, Queen Elizabeth II, watched on television from nearby Windsor Castle.

She had, though, written the foreword to the racecard and the United Kingdom national anthem was sung remotely by Laura Wright and the Royal Holloway Choir.

Crowley still enjoyed the moment of glory with Battaash, whose trainer Charlie Hills also saddled the runner-up Equilateral.

"It was redemption for Battaash today. He had a bit of unfinished business and he got it done," said Crowley. "I would say he's No. 1 in my career. He has so much natural talent."

Jockey Ryan Moore came out on top in the first Group 1 of the day, the Queen Anne Stakes, prevailing with favourite Circus Maximus, after a terrific duel with Dettori on Terebellum.

It was Moore's 59th success at the meeting and trainer Aidan O'Brien's 71st, while Circus Maximus added this prize to his St James's Palace Stakes victory last year. - AFP

HORSE RACING