Bay Bridge Upsets Baaeed In The Champion

Bay Bridge | Eclipse Sportswire

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Caught off guard in Royal Ascot's G1 Prince of Wales's S. and Sandown's G1 Coral-Eclipse, James Wigan and Ballylinch Stud's Bay Bridge (GB) (New Bay {GB}–Hayyona {GB}, by Multiplex {GB}) made it third time lucky at the highest level when upsetting the hitherto undefeated Baaeed (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) and a stellar field in Saturday's G1 Qipco Champion S. at Ascot. The race is a qualifier for the GI Breeders' Cup Turf at Keeneland next month. Having appeared set fair to join the upper echelons when routing his rivals by five lengths and more in May's G3 Brigadier Gerard S. at Sandown, the 4-year-old bay failed to justify odds-on favouritism when usurped by State Of Rest (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) over course and distance in June and didn't fire as expected when fifth behind Vadeni (Fr) (Churchill {Ire}) in Sandown's annual highlight in July. The eventual winner occupied an ideal slot in third behind a steady tempo through halfway and the 10-1 chance shifted gears rounding the home turn, moving into second at the top of the straight. Hooking up with the revitalised Adayar (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) in the leading wave passing the quarter-mile marker, the expected surge of Baaeed failed to materialise in speed-blunting conditions as the 1-4 favourite's stablemate My Prospero (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}) joined the mix inside the final furlong. An enthralling battle ensued with Derby-winning jockey Richard Kingscote teasing every last drop out of Bay Bridge to edge ahead in the closing stages for a career high, with Adayar outbobbing My Prospero by a nose for second. Baaeed lost no caste in defeat and ran on to finish 1 1/4 lengths further adrift in fourth.

Surprisingly, Bay Bridge's success provided Sir Michael Stoute with a first positive outcome on the programme since Champions Day was recalibrated in 2011 and a first in the contest for the veteran conditioner since Kalanisi (Ire) (Doyoun {Ire}) outgunned Montjeu (Ire) (Sadler's Wells) in 2000. “Bay Bridge was very brave and I am absolutely thrilled,” Stoute said. “The staff have done a great job with this horse and we are all delighted. He was in very good shape coming here. He came back from Sandown with a knock and we had to back off him, so he's been very consistent this year with the exception of that race. We thought the favourite was unbeatable, or I did, but I thought he had a great chance of being second, because he was in terrific shape. I'm delighted to have won two Group 1 races this year, the staff have been brilliant and it's down to them.”

While Stoute was rekindling memories of yore, it has been a breakthrough year for winning rider Richard Kingscote. “It is surreal really,” he said. “I guess we came here knowing we have a nice horse, but we were taking on one of the best around. You cannot be afraid of one horse. They've always liked Bay Bridge back home and it's perfect to ride beautiful horses like this. He looked like he would have a big one in him and, on that ground, he showed he is a really lovely animal. He was a bit fresh and ran with enthusiasm for the first three-quarters of the race. He was going well into the turn and, when the others tried to put a bit of pace into it, he responded and knuckled down when William [Buick] came to us on Adayar. He put in a very good effort.” Reflecting on a banner season, Kingscote continued, “I am very grateful to everyone for having me. Two spectacular horses have made it a great year.”

Last year's G1 Derby hero Adayar was making his first start in elite-level company since running fifth in last year's renewal and his renaissance thrilled Charlie Appleby. “We know Adayar's back on the top table again and I am delighted,” the trainer commented. “It is always in the back of your mind when you've won a conditions race, but he is where he was when he left off last year. There were no excuses there, William said they didn't go quite as strong a gallop as you would like, but he committed when he did. That was always the plan and he stuck to his guns well. We were beaten by a horse that we know has always had plenty of potential there and has been waiting for the ground.”

Reflecting on a first defeat in 11 starts for Baaeed, William Haggas admitted, “It is deflating, but he is still a good horse and I'm sad he didn't win for him and his connections as well as all the people at the yard who have worked tirelessly to get him there. There you go, it's horse racing. Jim [Crowley] felt Baaeed just couldn't pick up in the ground. All I know is he didn't win and I need to watch it again. I was busy watching the others as well and I tend not to make an assessment straight after. Let's hope this is eradicated from people's minds quite quickly. My Prospero couldn't quite nut Adayar on the line for second, so it looks like we'll have to wait for next year until we have a go at the Trainers' Championship. My Prospero ran a magnificent race and has lots to look forward to. He is a beautiful horse, a great big horse and I think he has a good future. Dubai Honour ran well, but James [Doyle] said they went no gallop for him.”

For rider Jim Crowley, Baaeed's defeat was down to one factor alone. “The ground, simple as that,” he insisted. “I turned into the straight and, normally, he would be able to do it on good to soft, but that kick just wasn't there. It was heavy weather really and as soon as I went for him I knew I was in trouble. In the past, it has just been instant, but it just wasn't there, simple as that. It is unbelievable the journey we have been on. He is a very special horse and it is sad that he does not finish his career unbeaten as we have come so far. Baaeed has captured the imagination and I'm sorry we couldn't do it today. He is a special horse still.”

Bay Bridge is the fourth of seven foals and one of two scorers from three runners out of a half-sister to G2 Prix Eugene Adam victor Shimraan (Fr) (Rainbow Quest). He is kin to the hitherto unraced 2-year-old filly Stormy Sea (GB) (Territories {Ire}) and a yearling colt by Time Test (GB). His stakes-winning third dam Shemaya (Ire) (Darshaan {GB}), who produced G1 Prix du Jockey Club second Shamkiyr (Fr) (Sea the Stars {Ire}), is kin to G3 Prix Allez France victrix Shemima (GB) (Dalakhani {Ire}), herself the dam of G3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial winner Cormorant (Ire) (Kingman {GB}) and Listed Prix Madame Jean Couturie victrix Shemala (Ire) (Danehill). Descendants of Shemala, herself a daughter of G1 Prix de Diane heroine Shemaka (Ire) (Nishapour {Fr}), include G1 Grand Prix de Paris hero Shakeel (Fr) (Dalakhani {Ire}).

Saturday, Ascot, Britain
QIPCO CHAMPION S.-G1, £1,300,000, Ascot, 10-15, 3yo/up, 9f 212yT, 2:09.46, g/s.
1–BAY BRIDGE (GB), 133, c, 4, by New Bay (GB)
1st Dam: Hayyona (GB), by Multiplex (GB)
2nd Dam: Shemriyna (Ire), by King Of Kings (Ire)
3rd Dam: Shemaya (Ire), by Darshaan (GB)
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. O-James Wigan & Ballylinch Stud; B-London Thoroughbred Services Ltd (GB); T-Sir Michael Stoute; J-Richard Kingscote. £737,230. Lifetime Record: 10-6-1-1, $1,284,847. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Adayar (Ire), 133, c, 4, Frankel (GB)–Anna Salai, by Dubawi (Ire). O/B-Godolphin (IRE); T-Charlie Appleby. £279,500.
3–My Prospero (Ire), 129, c, 3, Iffraaj (GB)–My Titania (Ire), by Sea The Stars (Ire). O/B-Sunderland Holding Inc (IRE); T-William Haggas. £139,880.
Margins: HF, NO, 1 1/4. Odds: 10.00, 6.00, 22.00.
Also Ran: Baaeed (GB), Stone Age (Ire), Dubai Honour (Ire), Helvic Dream (Ire), Mac Swiney (Ire), Royal Champion (Ire).

 

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