Haggas and Crowley Looking Forward To step up in trip
Baaeed: cosy winner of the Group 1 Sussex Stakes
By Lewis Porteous
Wednesday: Sussex Stakes, Goodwood
Baaeed, currently the highest-rated horse on the planet, took his unbeaten record to nine with a comfortable victory in the Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes.
Registering his fifth Group 1 win in succession, Baaeed was perhaps not as explosive as he has been but he never looked likely to come unstuck as the 1-6 favourite, hitting the line strongly to defeat Modern Games in second, with last year’s winner Alcohol Free in third.
On what was likely to be his last start at a mile, Baaeed was anchored towards the rear under Jim Crowley as Japanese raider Bathrat Leon set a strong early pace, before moving through stylishly from the two-furlong maker and quickening clear of his rivals close home.
Next stop for Baaeed appears to be York and the Juddmonte International on August 17, a race that will see him stepping up to 1m2½f for the first time, with Paddy Power keeping his price unchanged at 4-7 for the Group 1 contest.
“He just does what he has to like his sire [Sea The Stars] did,” said Crowley. “Just before the winning line he flicked his ears and completely shut down with me. It’s a pleasure to be part of the journey.
“He’s never going to be exuberant and win by ten lengths but the feeling I got from him between the three and the two [furlongs], no horse can give you that sort of feel. He’s got everything. Good horses like that tick all the boxes.
“It will be really interesting when he goes a mile and a quarter next time and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Winning trainer William Haggas pointed firmly to York and the International next, with a trip to Ascot on British Champions Day beyond that likely to be the last start of Baaeed’s exceptional career.
Haggas said: “He’s got speed and he’s got class and I’m really looking forward to it [stepping up in trip], and I think he’ll enjoy it. We’ve got him for two more races so let’s make the most of him and enjoy him, because he’s very likely to go to stud at the end of this year. That will be it and then I’ll spend the rest of my training career trying to find the next one.”
Modern Games, winner of the French 2,000 Guineas and placed in the French Derby already this season, finished a length and three-quarters behind Baaeed in second, with rider William Buick delighted with his effort.
Buick said: “That was a great run. We were racing for second and that’s where he finished. It was nice for him to come back to that form. The winner is an exceptional horse.”
Andrew Balding, trainer of third-place Alcohol Free, added: “She’s run a marvellous race and stayed on right the way to the line. She’s really developed into a fantastic-looking racemare and we’re thrilled with her. We’ve entered her in everything from six furlongs to a mile and all things are possible.”