Big Baaeed Looms In Lockinge

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Baaeed | PA Media

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Saturday sees the resumption of the attempt by opponents of Baaeed (GB) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) to find a weak spot in Shadwell's rampant miling champion as he is relaunched in Newbury's G1 Al Shaqab Lockinge S. The last unbeaten colt to come to this older brigade's traditional season's starting point was the great Frankel (GB) in 2012 and, while comparisons with him are fanciful at the moment, the G1 Prix du Moulin and G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. winner is as good as it gets in his category at present. Still unraced as his owner-breeder passed last March, probably the best horse that has passed through William Haggas's hands undoubtedly has more to give and it is encouraging how his full-brother Hukum (Ire) has held his form from three to four and now to five.

“Obviously I didn't think he'd go from being a maiden winner to champion miler within four months, but it was a strange one because everyone knows we are not in a rush most of the time,” Haggas said. “The burning question is what is left to come this season as he's quite deceptive. He's laid-back, not lazy, he's just nice. I don't know how much more there is to come.”

 

A Free Hit

It seems like a long while since we saw the best of Jeff Smith's G1 Coronation S. and G1 Sussex S. heroine Alcohol Free (Ire) (No Nay Never) and all the pressure is off here with limited expectations on the talented but tricky 4-year-old. Only eighth behind Baaeed in the QEII, her previous best is not far off the Haggas star's standard if only she can retrieve it at this track at which she is unbeaten–albeit at much lower levels. With Oisin Murphy sidelined, it is a case of getting to know you for Rob Hornby and that may have been in play as she managed just a third placing in the Apr. 22 G2 Sandown Mile. Drawn towards the outside again, as she seems to have been throughout her career, her rider faces a tactical quandary but at least she is berthed next to the favourite.

“Obviously Baaeed is the standout in the race and I've got quite a nice draw next to him,” Hornby said. “We'll keep it uncomplicated, just get her relaxed in the first couple of furlongs and then ride our race from there. We thought that for her first run of the year we'd make sure we did it the right way round, she might have looked a little bit keen on television but she doesn't ride as bad as she looks.”

 

Back In The Real World

If there is an enigma in the line-up, it is Godolphin's Real World (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) who flew the flag for Saeed bin Suroor in 2021 before being asked what were probably two unfair questions back on dirt this year. His form is obviously short of Baaeed's peak, but he has yet to suffer a reversal on turf, beat the high-class The Revenant (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) on that rival's preferred testing ground in the G2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein at ParisLongchamp in October and may have a fitness edge after hard runs on Meydan's dirt. Danny Tudhope rode him when taking the Jan. 28 G2 Zabeel Mile and said, “As soon as I got on him in Dubai, he just had a lovely presence about him. He's an absolute monster of a horse and a proper sort. He's a different horse on grass and the Meydan win was his fifth in a row.”

 

Double Trouble

Shadwell's British Champions Day double with Baaeed and Eshaada (GB) (Muhaarar {GB}) could be repeated at Newbury, with the Roger Varian-trained G1 Fillies & Mares S. winner returning in the G3 Al Rayyan S., registered as the Aston Park S. She meets Julian Richmond-Watson's G1 Prix Royal-Oak hero Scope (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) there, while on the same card Imad Alsagar's 'TDN Rising Star' Nashwa (GB) (Frankel {GB}) bids to jump into the Oaks picture in the Listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies' Trial S. which saw the launch of Eshaada 12 months ago. Royal Ascot also sharpens in focus in the fixture's Listed BetVictor Carnarvon S. for Commonwealth Cup hopefuls, and at Navan with potential G2 Queen's Vase protagonists taking part in the 13-furlong Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Yeats S. Ballydoyle's course-and-distance maiden winner Arbutus (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) will be a warm order and he looks one for the St Leger trail.

 

The ParisLongchamp Draw Story

Friday saw the final fields drawn for Sunday's €600,000 G1 Emirates Poule d'Essai des Poulains and €500,000 G1 Emirates Poule d'Essai des Pouliches at ParisLongchamp, with Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's G1 1000 Guineas heroine Cachet (Ire) (Aclaim {Ire}) in stall 10 as she face 14 rivals in her bid to become the first filly since Special Duty (GB) (Hennessy) to complete the rare double in 2010. George Boughey's 'TDN Rising Star' would be the fifth overall to add the Pouliches to her Newmarket laurels with the others being Imprudence (1947), Miesque (1987) and Ravinella (1988). The draw has been kinder to England's leading Poulains hope, with Godolphin's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf hero Modern Games (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) in four as he bids to provide Charlie Appleby with another breakthrough Guineas victory. In contrast, compatriot Claymore (Fr) (New Bay {GB}) will have to work a minor miracle from the widest stall in 16, with Mary Slack's G3 Craven S. runner-up done no favours along with Teme Valley and Ballylinch Stud's G2 Champagne S. scorer Bayside Boy (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) in 14.

 

Cachet Primed

Harry Herbert explained that the decision to send Cachet straight back into action was left to her trainer. “Cachet is very tough, but that isn't really a surprise as we saw last season when she ran a lot. George [Boughey] made the decision to send her to the Emirates Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and we didn't interfere when it came to this decision. She has maintained her appetite and her attitude has been excellent ever since. All the signals regarding her well-being are positive ones, she looks in great shape, the weather in Paris is good and the conditions on Sunday should be to her advantage, as should the course.”

 

Ros-y In The Garden

Stéphane Wattel had spoken of his the desire for a low draw in the Pouliches for Haras de la Perelle's G3 Prix des Reservoirs and G3 Prix de la Grotte winner Rosacea (Ire) (Soldier Hollow {GB}) and he got what he hoped for with the inside berth. “There have been no hitches with her preparation since she won the Prix de la Grotte–has she improved since then? I can't say, because in the mornings we do our best not to blunt her speed,” commented the Deauville-based trainer who also has Frankie Dettori booked for Teruya Yoshida's G3 Prix Francois Boutin winner Who Knows (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) out wide in stall 12. “Who Knows is in tip-top shape for Sunday. Good ground is de rigeur for her, which should be the case at ParisLongchamp on Sunday. She has a lot of speed, although there is a slight doubt concerning her ability to see out the 1600 metres.”

 

Ready To Rock

Wedged among the bluebloods in the Poulains is Team Calas' €16,000 Arqana October bargain Rock Boy (Fr) (Rock of Gibraltar {Ire}) who will have no excuses where post position is concerned, with the unbeaten G3 Prix Djebel winner in five under Stephane Pasquier. Richard Chotard, who trains at Calas-Cabriès in the Bouches du Rhone region, is keen to see if the fairytale can play out. “He has a devastating turn of foot which is his great strength,” he said. “He has always run on very soft or heavy ground, but there's no reason why he can't be just as effective on a faster surface. The colt is in perfect shape.”

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