Battaash grabbed a second successive victory in the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock Park to complete a fabulous 30 minutes for trainer Charlie Hills.

While the Hills family have landed many of the biggest races over the years with Charlie's late father Barry training and brothers Richard and Michael in the saddle, this was a particularly special afternoon.

Less than 30 minutes after Charlie Hills' Phoenix Of Spain (16-1) had won the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh, Battaash - under Jim Crowley - completed a fine double in the Group Two feature on Merseyside.

And now he is back to blistering best he will bid for Group One glory in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot next month, having been second in the same contest 12 months ago.

Hills' five-year-old, who was the top-rated sprinter in the world in 2017 when he won among others the Prix de l'Abbaye. was sent off the 5-6 favourite on Merseyside,

But it was Caspian Prince and Kachy who made the early running with Crowley just waiting in the wings before unleashing Battaash's blistering pace.

Battaash moved close to the two leaders and once he hit the front he surged clear to land a two-and-a-half-length victory over Alpha Delphini, with Mabs Cross a further three-quarters-of-a-length back in third.

Battaash became the first horse to land back-to-back victories in the Temple Stakes since Mind Games in 1995 and 1996 and will now bid for all the top sprint contests, starting with the King's Stand Stakes, for which he is a best-priced 7-2 - vying for favouritism - with Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred, BetVictor and Skybet.

Trainer Hills was at the Curragh watching Phoenix Of Spain land Classic glory.

Phoenix of Spain, ridden by Jamie Spencer, wins the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at Curragh Racecourse on Saturday, May 25 2019 Picture by PA Wire
Phoenix of Spain, ridden by Jamie Spencer, wins the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at Curragh Racecourse on Saturday, May 25 2019 Picture by PA Wire

But winning jockey Crowley said: "I was very lucky that I just missed it a beat coming out of the gates.

"Funnily enough he missed the kick in this race last year. Then at Ascot, I just let him jump normally and he winged the gates and was in front, doing too much. So I purposely tried to miss it on him.

"It's never easy on this fella. But I was able to get in behind one. Even if it's just for a furlong, it helped me rather than charging off in front.

"After a furlong, they weren't going quick enough. I tried to take a pull on him, but he does his own thing."

He added: "I think the horse is in better form this year - he seems a lot happier, and is a lot more forward in his coat than this time last year.

"He was much better (mentally) - he was OK. Sometimes things set him off, but today he was pretty good. He got a bit warm, but by no means compared to what he used to be.

"Definitely the King's Stand (next). Probably, he can go back to York (Nunthorpe Stakes) or you've got the Flying Five in Ireland and finish up with the Goodwood race he's won twice now - it'd be nice to do it three times. He's a smashing horse."

Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to winning owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and brother of the trainer, said: "The best half an hour (after stable's Curragh win).

"He was really good today. A lot of credit (must go) to Dane O'Neill, who's been riding this horse a lot.

"The horse is a lot better this year. I just said to Jim, once you've got him settled I always knew he was going to finish - he's got a massive amount of speed.

"It's just retaining it. (But) when he's on song like that, he's a hard horse to beat."