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This superb black and white photograph gives an inkling of why a visit to the town of Newmarket, racing’s headquarters, should be a goal of all serious horseracing fans.

This is Baaeed crossing the Bury road.

He is currently Timeform’s highest rated horse in training, having been raised from 130 to 134 after his win in Saturday’s Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

Extracts below from a latest ratings article by John Ingles.

Baaeed is the best Lockinge winner since Frankel ten years ago and a rating of 134 puts him on a par with Kingman and a pound ahead of Canford Cliffs and Excelebration among recent top-notch milers. However, it is worth remembering the latter was thumped five lengths by Frankel in the Lockinge!

Baaeed was the best horse to return to action in the past week but 24 hours earlier all the attention had been on another son of Sea The Stars, Stradivarius (remains 123), making a successful reappearance in the Yorkshire Cup. Back for a final season at the age of eight, Stradivarius might not be quite the same horse he was when winning two editions of the race earlier in his career but he was still more than good enough to concede weight to four at least smart rivals and seems sure to make a bold bid to win a fourth Gold Cup next month.

Search For A Song finished only fourth as favourite for the Yorkshire Cup but later the same day her younger brother Kyprios (122 from 119) romped into the Gold Cup picture by winning the newly-promoted Group 3 Levmoss Stakes at Leopardstown by 14 lengths after making all the running.

Kyprios had finished fourth in last year’s Derby Trial at Lingfield and the third from that race, Scope (125 from 121), who also holds a Gold Cup entry, ran a fine race on his return under a Group 1 penalty in the Aston Park Stakes at Newbury in going down by a neck to Ilaraab (119 from 115). Successful in the Prix Royal Oak over nearly two miles in France last year, Scope will be even better suited by a return to further, though Royal Ascot isn’t on the agenda for Ilaraab who disappointed there last year.

If the bookmakers are right, both the Derby and Oaks winners were in action at York last week. Desert Crown (121p from 106P) ensured Leopardstown winner Stone Age had only a brief spell as Derby favourite after running out a decisive winner by three and a quarter lengths of the Dante on just his second start from the much more experienced Royal Patronage (112 from 110) and Stone Age’s stablemate Bluegrass (107 from 102). That form looks well up to standard in what was a fairly-run race and, having given Sir Michael Stoute a record-equalling seventh Dante success, Desert Crown looks a most exciting prospect for the rest of the season given how little racing he’s had so far.

Emily Upjohn (113p from 102p) had even more to spare – five and a half lengths – in winning the Musidora Stakes, taking her own record to three out of three, and, another by Sea The Stars, she too seems sure to appreciate the extra distance at Epsom, though the bare form of her trial was nothing special with all five runners only having contested maidens/novices beforehand.

John & Thady Gosden could have another Oaks contender – though the Prix de Diane is an alternative if they wish to keep them apart – after Nashwa (111P from 94P) made it two impressive wins for the year in the fillies’ listed race at Newbury on Saturday. She retains her ‘large P’ symbol, indicating scope for a lot more improvement, and will be interesting in whichever classic she goes for next, not short of speed but equally being bred to stay further as a Frankel half-sister to a mile and a half winner.

Back at York, one of the most improved performances of the week came in the 1895 Duke of York Stakes which was won by John Quinn’s likeable mare Highfield Princess (122 from 109) who, with everything falling perfectly for her, returned a clear career-best in quickening away from Spycatcher (116 from 115) in a very good time compared with the preceding handicap, though whether she can reproduce that effort in the Platinum Jubilee must be open to doubt.

In what was something of an unsatisfactory Middleton Stakes at York for older fillies and mares, Lilac Road (117 from 112) nonetheless responded willingly to come from behind in a steadily-run race to get the better of the pace-setting Aristia (109 from 108) by half a length and was value for a fair bit more than the bare winning margin in the circumstances.

With next month’s Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in mind there were some smart sprinting performances from three-year-olds in recent days. Best of those was Twilight Jet (116 from 110) who had a busy two-year-old campaign for Michael O’Callaghan, winning the Cornwallis Stakes, but looked better than ever when making all for a three-length win in the Lacken Stakes on his return at Naas on Sunday. He could meet the first two from Newbury’s listed Carnavon Stakes in which Tiber Flow (remains 111p) didn’t have to improve on his turf debut to hold on from the keeping-on Ehraz (109 from 100+) by a short head. Only a short-head defeat away from being unbeaten in five starts, Tiber Flow remains open to improvement. Last Crusader (111 from 100) showed plenty of improvement to win York’s listed Westow Stakes on his first try at five furlongs but was strong at the finish after making all and should be just as effective back at six.

Longchamp staged France’s equivalents of the Guineas on Sunday, though it took no better than smart efforts to win both races. The colts ran the faster time in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains in which Modern Games just had to match his 115 rating from last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf to make a successful reappearance. That’s some way short of the figures his Godolphin stablemates Coroebus and Native Trail ran to at Newmarket but he’s on a different path to that pair, due to step up in trip back in France for the Prix du Jockey Club next.

The first two in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches could meet again in the Coronation Stakes after just a head separated Mangoustine (114 from 105) and Cachet (remains 113). The 1000 Guineas winner matched her Newmarket form in going down narrowly but emerged with plenty of credit just a fortnight after her hard race there, her draw not making it easy to pull off the same tactics but producing a game effort from the front nonetheless and rallying when headed. There’s no clear leader among the three-year-old miling fillies yet – the Coronation should tell us whether Inspiral still heads them – though Mangoustine has done little wrong, beaten only once in five starts.

Finally, there was another winner on the Longchamp card who could be bound for Royal Ascot. The Czech-trained colt Ponntos (119 from 95) was an outsider in the Prix de Saint-Georges but he showed too much speed throughout – clocking well under 56 seconds for the thousand metres under admittedly quite quick conditions – for some more established smart sprinters. That was well in advance of anything he’d achieved previously, though the replacement of his regular rider with Frankie Dettori was perhaps a big clue that his improvement wasn’t unexpected.  

Picture: Baaeed crossing The Bury road at Newmarket (Michael Harris).