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Picture: Baaeed: will not run in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on October 2 (Edward Whitaker (

‘We can’t do both’

By David Milnes (Racing Post, Newmarket correspondent)

Baaeed will not run in arguably Europe’s greatest race after connections decided to miss the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and head for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot instead.
The unbeaten son of Sea The Stars would have needed to be supplemented for the Arc by his owner-breeders Shadwell at a cost of €120,000.
The outfit’s late supremo Hamdan Al Maktoum never won the Longchamp highlight and his daughter Sheikha Hissa had been due to speak to Baaeed’s Newmarket-based trainer William Haggas this week about plans.
A decision emerged on Wednesday afternoon that the Ascot prize, which was always Haggas’s first intention, had come out on top as the preferred option.
Prior to the news, Baaeed, flawless in ten races, had been Coral’s 9-4 favourite for the Arc, while the firm had him at 1-3 for the Champion Stakes, which takes place on October 15.
Ricky Hall, Baaeed’s devoted groom, put the star four-year-old through his paces in Newmarket on Wednesday morning after which his camp came to the conclusion that he would not contest the Arc, a race widely regarded as one of the world’s best and most prestigious.
Haggas said: “After much consultation with Sheikha Hissa and her team we have decided that Baaeed’s final start will be in the Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 15.
“He was very impressive in the Juddmonte International and it was only right that we explored every option. I, in particular, was keen to keep him to a mile and a quarter, therefore the Champion Stakes was the only logical solution.
“I understand many will be disappointed he’s not running in the Arc but we can’t do both and Ascot it will be.”
Haggas had made no secret all season that ending on Champions Day was his preference, but Baaeed’s imperious performance in the Juddmonte International at York meant the Arc, which is staged over a mile and a half, was discussed as a possible farewell slot before the exceptional colt’s retirement to stud.
However, the £1.3 million Champion Stakes is where, wellbeing permitting, he will bow out when the race’s winning prize of £737,230 could come in handy in Haggas’s bid for a first trainers’ title.
In the absence of Baaeed, last weekend’s impressive Irish Champion Stakes winner Luxembourg is the new Arc favourite at 4-1 with Coral, with Alpinista second in the market at 5-1.
Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (October 2, Longchamp)
Coral: 4 Luxembourg, 5 Alpinista, 8 Titleholder, Torquator Tasso, 9 Onesto, 14 Adayar, 16 La Parisienne, Westover, 20 Al Hakeem, Do Deuce, 25 bar
Qipco Champion Stakes (October 15, Ascot)
Coral: 1-3 Baaeed, 5 Vadeni, 6 Adayar, Luxembourg, 8 Nashwa, Onesto, 10 Bay Bridge, 12 Erevann, Mishriff, 14 Dubai Honour, La Petite Coco, Lord North, Maljoom, Sealiway, 16 bar