Battalion maintained his perfect record for Lambourn trainer Jamie Osborne with a dominant victory in the £40,000 Listed Betway Quebec Stakes at Lingfield Park on Saturday.
The six-year-old, sent off a 9/2 chance after scoring impressively over the course and distance on his first start for Osborne in a conditions race on November 30, travelled well throughout under William Carson and quickened strongly down the inside to take the lead entering the final furlong.
He soon opened up daylight over his six rivals and ran on well in the closing stages to beat 9/4 shot Dubai Fashion (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave) by a length and a half in 2m 4.06s.
William Carson commented: “Jamie has kept Battalion ticking over since he won at the end of last month and hasn’t done a lot with him.”
“We didn’t do a lot with him before he won last time and that is why we were a little bit surprised because he was so impressive that day.”
“He travels so well – he was cruising at the top of the bend – and, as soon as you let him go, he takes off. It’s like driving a Ferrari and he is the best that I have sat on for a long time.”
Ian Barratt of Melbourne 10 Racing, who purchased Battalion for 70,000 guineas at Tattersalls in October, said: “We were going to go to Dubai with Battalion but he won so well last time and the obvious plan now is to stay here for the Winter Derby Trial (£45,000, Listed, February 4, Lingfield Park), the Winter Derby (£100,000, G3, February 25, Lingfield Park) and then the big race on Finals Day (£200,000 Betway Middle Distance Championships, April 14, Lingfield Park).”
“He used to run in cheekpieces but maybe the change in scenery has helped him. Last time was a fact-finding mission and he bolted up, whereas today was more a question of seeing how good he might be.”
Reigning All-Weather Horse of the Year Grendisar (Marco Botti/George Baker), the 15/8 favourite, stayed on from the rear to take third, half a length behind Dubai Fashion.
Marco Botti said: “George Baker was saying that this race should put Grendisar spot on.”
“Grendisar ran a respectable race – Battalion has always been a nice horse at his best and Dubai Fashion is not a bad filly either.”
“We ended up behind Mercy Me and he was taking us a bit further back than we wanted. George didn’t want to pull him out because he would have been trapped wide, so he had to sit and suffer a bit whereas Battalion had the first run.”
“It is no disgrace to finish third and, as long as he comes on again, we should have him spot on for the Winter Derby and Finals Day. The next logical target will be the Winter Derby Trial and then on to the other two races.”
Card will take all the beating at Kempton on Boxing Day in the King George VI Chase.
Yours In Sport!