Little more than a year after his racecourse debut, Baaeed seems certain to follow PT Barnum’s advice that you should “always leave them wanting more”, having extended his brilliant and unbeaten career to 10 races in the Group One Juddmonte International Stakes here on Wednesday.
Baaeed overcame traffic problems on the way to the track and a minor veterinary scare before being saddled and then dismissed Mishriff, an exceptional winner of the International Stakes himself 12 months ago, with ridiculous ease, powering six-and-a-half lengths clear at the line after moving alongside him on the bridle a furlong out.
This extended 10-furlong contest was Baaeed’s first race beyond a mile and he won it in the style of a horse for whom anything is possible. As Jim Crowley, his jockey, put it afterwards: “He’s the perfect racehorse. I’m not joking, I think he could win a [six-furlong] July Cup up to a mile-and-a-half. He has everything.”
He is also, beyond any doubt, the best racehorse to set foot on a British racecourse since Frankel completed a 14-race unbeaten career a decade ago, which included an equally memorable success in the International.
When various options for Baaeed were put to Haggas afterwards, however, including a run in the 12-furlong Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October or even a five-year-old campaign, he batted them away one by one. Instead, it seems all but certain that Baaeed will bow out in the 10-furlong Champion Stakes at Ascot on 15 October fewer than 17 months after his first race at Leicester last June.
“He can’t do both [the Arc and Champion Stakes] and we wanted our finale in the Champion, and that has always been the plan,” Haggas said. “I think the racing public have shown their appreciation today. Everyone loves a good horse and he is a good horse, and I think and hope they’ll all turn up for Ascot as well.
“I never had any desire to run in the Arc and unless Sheikha Hissa [Baaeed’s owner] and Angus [Gold, her racing manager] decide that we’re going to do that and miss Ascot, then as far as I’m concerned, he’ll be going for the Champion Stakes.
“He’s got a lot of class … but he mustn’t race on [next year], he needs to go and earn some money [at stud] now and enjoy a fruitful career doing what we’d all love to do.”
Baaeed set off as a 2-5 chance here on Wednesday and he will be odds-on again for the Champion Stakes, having been cut to 1-2 after his latest success. Vadeni, the French Derby and Eclipse Stakes winner, is the second favourite at 7-1 and it is 10-1 bar two.
Thursday’s tipping preview
Sir Mark Prescott’s mare Alpinista last set foot on a British racecourse in July 2021, when she won the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock Park, and she has spent the 411 days since on a grand tour of European Group Ones, winning in Munich, Cologne, Paris and Berlin.
Torquator Tasso, the subsequent Arc winner, was two-and-a-half lengths behind Alpinista in the Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten last August. Her improvement over the last 12 months has been such that she will go to post for Thursday’s Group One Yorkshire Oaks as one of the ante-post favourites for this year’s Arc.
The five-year-old was a 33-1 chance for the race two years ago, when she finished a five-length second to Love, the 2020 Oaks winner. Tuesday, this season’s winner of the Epsom Classic, should offer a useful measure of Alpinista’s progress since. It is a test that the favourite should be expected to pass, and at around 2-1, Alpinista is a decent bet to cement her status as a leading Arc contender.
York 1.50 While Mawj has been progressing well on her three starts to date, she still has several pounds to find with Dramatised. Karl Burke’s unbeaten filly has recorded eye-catching time figures on both of her starts to date and won the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot last time with plenty to spare.
York 2.25 Shouldvebeenaring heads the early market for a race that Richard Hannon, his trainer, has won four times in the last six years, but his bare form is no stronger than that of several opponents and Matching Sox might be the pick at around 12-1. He was a little fortunate to win on debut at Kempton 10 days ago but Andrew Balding’s juveniles generally find plenty for an outing.
York 3.00 Blue For You struggled for running room at a vital stage in the Golden Mile at Glorious Goodwood last month before finishing three-and-a-quarter lengths behind Orbaan, a stable companion at the David O’Meara yard. The Knavesmire should give Danny Tudhope more room for manoeuvre and a repeat of his close second behind Eilean Dubh in July could well be enough.
York 4.10 Haskoy made an impressive start to her career in a minor race at Kempton three weeks ago and stopped the clock in a time which suggests this quick move up to Listed company is justified.