There were probably a few latecomers still trying to park when Baaeed crossed the line in the Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday to cement his status as the world’s highest rated horse. No one, though, will want to miss his next start if, as seems likely, he takes on Coroebus, the winner of the afternoon’s St James’s Palace Stakes, in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood next month.
Like Frankel in the same contest 10 years earlier, Baaeed opened the meeting with a ruthless defence of his unbeaten record at long odds-on. He travelled smoothly for Jim Crowley behind Real World, the second-favourite, before taking charge without resorting to the whip inside the final quarter-mile. He crossed the line nearly two lengths in front of Real World with Order Of Australia, the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner, another four lengths behind in third.
“It doesn’t get any easier than that,” Crowley said. “I just let him stretch out for the last furlong of the race, it was like clockwork. It was just the perfect race, really.
“Baaeed will have sterner tests ahead, we know that. He is just doing everything perfectly at the moment. He gallops out very well over a mile and has a serious turn of foot over a mile – it’s unnatural really [and] I don’t see 10 furlongs being a problem.
“I’m sure we’ll keep testing him, but I’m pretty sure he’ll keep finding. You wait a lifetime for a horse to come along like this. The only way I can explain the feeling is when you go to the funfair and you’re waiting in the queue for a fast ride, that’s the feeling before you get on him.”
William Haggas, Baaeed’s trainer, would like to try him at a mile and a quarter at some stage – probably in the International Stakes at York, where Frankel made the same step up in trip a decade ago. Frankel went to Goodwood first, though, and Baaeed could well do the same.
“He travels well and settles well [and] that is a really important part if we are going to go further,” Haggas said. “I think we are all quite keen to give it a go and that will be at York. It’s whether we slot Goodwood in in the meantime. It’s potentially Goodwood next.”
Baaeed is top-priced at 8-13 for the Sussex Stakes, with Coroebus, who needed to wait for a run in the St James’s Palace Stakes before getting home by a neck, on offer at 4-1.
Haggas, though, may feel that he might have had a Group One double on the day had Maljoom, the German 2,000 Guineas winner, managed to find running room a furlong and a half out. He showed an exceptional turn of foot to get within half a length of Coroebus at the line, but that was only enough for fourth place behind Lusail and My Prospero.
Coroebus is the 16th 2,000 Guineas winner in the postwar period to double up in the St James’s Palace Stakes, and the second to do so for the Godolphin operation after Dawn Approach in 2013.
“It was a tough, gritty performance,” Charlie Appleby, Coroebus’s trainer, said. “I felt it was class and determination which got us over the line there. I’m sure [a meeting with Baaeed] is a discussion we would like to have in the coming weeks. It is always a fantastic race, isn’t it? The older horses and the three-year-olds taking each other on, and we were confident [beforehand] that we’d hopefully be doing that on the back of today. I think that is still very much in conversation.”
The much-anticipated meeting between Nature Strip and Golden Pal, top sprinters from Australia and the US respectively, did not materialise as hoped with Golden Pal failing to pick up at the two-furlong pole after being slow to stride.
Nature Strip, though, proved himself a long way in front of Twilight Calls with a comprehensive four-and-a-half-length success. Chris Waller’s gelding could now attempt to complete a Group One sprint double in Saturday’s Platinum Jubilee Stakes. Waller’s colt Home Affairs is the likely favourite, while Campanelle, like Golden Pal a member of Wesley Ward’s party from the US, is also a leading contender.
Nature Strip (3-1) replaced Home Affairs (4-1) as favourite after Tuesday’s emphatic success, with Campanelle, already a dual winner at the Royal meeting, on 7-1.