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Brilliant Baaeed blows rivals away as Battaash bows out

  • Baaeed remained unbeaten after demolishing his rivals at Goodwood on Friday
  • William Haggas' star will head to France next for the Prix du Moulin
  • Baaeed was cut into 5/2 for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day
  • Battaash will likely be retired after defeat at Goodwood
baaeed
Jim Crowley riding Baaeed win The Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes during the Qatar Goodwood Festival. (Getty)

Baaeed reaffirmed his position as one of the brightest talents in British flat racing, after blowing his rivals away at Glorious Goodwood on Friday.
William Haggas' star went into the Thoroughbred Stakes unbeaten, and was backed into 2/5 before the off. Baaeed squared off against Dee Stakes winner, El Drama and King Edward VII Stakes runner-up, Tasman Bay. Neither, however, were able to lay a glove on Jim Crowley's mount, who cruised to a six-and-a-half length victory without ever hitting top gear.

That margin of victory matched the distance El Drama was beaten behind St Mark's Basilica on his previous outing in the Coral-Eclipse. St Mark's Basilica is currently the highest-rated horse in the sport, but that win for Baaeed will see Haggas' three-year-old edge a little closer to the top of the rankings.

Baaeed had reached a mark of 119 after three emphatic wins in the space of a month. Many exclaimed after the Thoroughbred Stakes that they would have loved Baaeed to run in the Group One Sussex Stakes, won by Alcohol Free on Wednesday. However, as Haggas explained, Baaeed hadn't even made his debut when the deadline for the Sussex Stakes entries passed.

"He wasn't in the Sussex because when it closed he hadn't run," Haggas told the press at Goodwood. "Not many put an unraced horse in a Group 1 like that. We toyed with the idea of supplementing, but when the rain came on Sunday night I was very glad we hadn't."

Attention then turned to when we'd see Baaeed run next, and Haggas revealed the team has three options in mind.

"He's in three races – the Jacques le Marois, the Celebration Mile back here and the Moulin, which is in September."

"Whatever you think about how they win, they always have a race. I learned he doesn't have to have fast ground to be at his best, but otherwise it confirmed he's a good horse. The entries for the QEII close next week and he'll get an entry!"

With the Celebration Mile and the Jacques le Marois coming up during August, both seem fairly unlikely. The Prix du Moulin seems the most realistic option, and French racing viewers could be treated to a mouth-water showdown between Baaeed and the number one miler in the sport, Palace Pier in that Group One at Longchamp.

As soon as Haggas mentioned the QEII (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes), bookmakers ran for cover, with Betfair listing Baaeed as their 5/2 second-favourite, behind Palace Pier, who tops the British Champions Day betting on 2/1.

suesa
Battaash (third right, blue and white cap) fades out of contention as Suesa (left) wins the King George Stakes. (Getty)

Charlie Hills and Shadwell Estates were hoping Battaash could follow in Baaeed's footsteps on Friday, as he attempted to win the King George Stakes for the fifth year in a row. Sadly, it wasn't to be, as Battaash was well beaten back in fifth, Shadwell's racing manager Angus Gold revealed their star sprinter is now facing the prospect of retirement.

"He's seven now, and after all the problems he's had, why would we go on now?" Gold said to the press. 

"He had such a brilliant year last year. He won three out of three and was at the top of his game. If he isn't now, the last thing we would want to do is carry on."

"I have to speak to Sheikha Hissa and an announcement might even be tomorrow. She said to me at Ascot she didn't want to abuse this horse. There comes a time for all of us."

"Jim said he didn't like the ground but he didn't say that's why he got beat," said Shadwell Estates racing manager Angus Gold, who then referenced the small fracture Battaash sustained over the winter.

"He's done well to get back to the races," he said. "We had to put a pin in a joint and it took him a long time to come right. He's had problems on and off all his life, so frankly, I think it's remarkable he's back with us at all."

"The enthusiasm is still there. Jim said he felt good and that he wanted to go, but then he said his run lasted for five yards, and that was it. Yes, he didn't like the ground, but he's also a seven-year-old who has had a lot of problems."
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