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Suesa becomes first filly since 2012 to win King George Qatar Stakes

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.

“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.”

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.”

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