” title=”Baaeed is a cosy winner of the Group 1 Sussex Stakes”
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Baaeed is a cosy winner of the Group 1 Sussex Stakes
It may still be too soon to compare Baaeed to Frankel but he did more than a passable impression when powering clear in the Sussex Stakes.
His campaign has followed an identical path to his famous predecessor, who also won the QEII, Lockinge and Queen Anne before extending his unbeaten record to 12 when obliterating his rivals at Goodwood in 2012.
It is only natural to compare the world’s highest-rated racehorse with one of the greatest of all time, but Baaeed is so much more than a tribute act. His running style is one of ruthless efficiency and, while he may not put his rivals to the sword quite like Frankel, his ninth success in a row was similarly never in doubt.
The crowd expected a spectacle and were not disappointed, even with the absence of 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes winner Coroebus.
Jim Crowley cruised into contention and when he pushed the button, his partner showed a devastating turn of foot to quickly put the race to bed.
Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)
title=”Baaeed had his six Sussex rivals well held up the straight”
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Baaeed had his six Sussex rivals well held up the straight
Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)
This was met with an enormous cheer from the crowd, but the feeling after the race was more relief than enjoyment for trainer William Haggas, who spent much of the pre-race build-up being followed around by cameras.
“I’m glad it’s over,” said Haggas, who was joined in the winner’s enclosure by owner Sheikha Hissa. “There was lots of anxiety beforehand and talks about how it would be run, but we felt he was the best horse in the race.
“He has so many gears. It’s like somebody doing the Tour de France on a motorbike. It must be a wonderful feeling to be able to pull him out and come home on the bridle. I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years and horses like him don’t come around very often. We’re lucky to have him.”
Like Haggas, most of us could only dream of what it would feel like to ride a racehorse, let alone one as blisteringly quick as Baaeed, who was sent off at 1-6 before beating Modern Games by a length and three-quarters.
Luckily, Crowley does not have to imagine, and the jockey said: “He’s so relaxed. The race went perfectly. He just cruised into it and when he hit the front he thought he’d done enough. I gave him two taps because there was a roar from the crowd and he started to shut down a little bit.
“He thinks it’s a piece of work and is hardly blowing. He’s the horse of a lifetime. They’re all different but he’s the best horse I’ve ever ridden.”
Jim Crowley celebrates after Baaeed’s easy Sussex Stakes win
Baaeed’s superiority over a mile was such that Shadwell racing manager Angus Gold compared him to Nashwan at Royal Ascot, but his immediate future lies over further and there is a tough assignment on the horizon.
He remained unchanged at 4-7 for next month’s Juddmonte International, a race won by Frankel in 2012, and provided the experiment of stepping up in trip succeeds, Baaeed could then be aimed at the Champion Stakes.
“The plan is to step up to a mile and a quarter,” said Haggas. “He’s got the speed and the class. I’m looking forward to it as he should enjoy it.”
Connections were not tempted to enter Baaeed in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and his trainer added: “I spoke to Angus when the entry came up. I said if he’s a mile-and-a-half horse we’re in trouble as he’s lost his speed. I don’t feel we need to go for the Arc. We’d like to go for the Champion Stakes or the QEII, depending on how he does next time.”
Haggas may be close to running out of words to describe Baaeed, but when asked what it means to train a horse with the world at his feet, he said: “I was with Jim in the paddock and told him we’ve got him for two more races after this as he’ll likely go to stud so we must enjoy him – then I’ll spend the remainder of my training career trying to find another one.”
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