Charlie Hills confirms Battaash will not go to the Breeders' Cup

Top sprinter Battaash, who had been a possible runner at the Breeders' Cup at Keeneland next month, will not be in action Stateside, trainer Charlie Hills revealed on Saturday.

British and Irish bookmakers had the blistering six-year-old as their favourite for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint on November 7, but he is finished for the year after an unbeaten campaign in which he won the King's Stand at Royal Ascot, a fourth King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and York's Nunthorpe Stakes for the second year running.

Hills, who trains the popular son of Dark Angel for Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: "We've spoken to Sheikh Hamdan and have got great respect for the Breeders' Cup and what they've done, but he's finishing the year on a high and we'll keep him safe and sound for next season, which we're already looking forward to.

"We don't know what the ground is going to be like in America. I know it's quick at the moment, but it can change very quickly there. I'm sure he'd handle everything over there too, but you're asking him to do something very different. It's a shame, but there could always be another time."

As a gelding, Battaash, who missed the Prix de l'Abbaye recently because of testing ground, will remain in training and Hills added: "I'm very proud of what he's done this term; he's been superb, and he looks incredible.

"His breeder Paul McCartan came to see him this morning and it's the first time he's seen him since he was a yearling and he couldn't believe how good he was looking. He was so impressed with the horse, who'll probably go back to Sheikh Hamdan's stud for his winter break next week. This year has been great."

Hills, a Breeders' Cup winner with the high-class Chriselliam in the Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2013, could still be represented in the race with the smart Equilateral, while the Lambourn trainer has designs on Bahrain or Hong Kong with useful four-year-old Pogo.