'He's Got It All': Brilliant Baaeed Headlines Saturday's QIPCO Champion Stakes - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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‘He’s Got It All’: Brilliant Baaeed Headlines Saturday’s QIPCO Champion Stakes

Baaeed will face eight high-class opponents when he makes his eleventh and final racecourse appearance of a wonderful career in a QIPCO Champion Stakes, which also sees the return to the top level of last year's Cazoo Derby and King George VI And Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes winner Adayar.

Since making an unheralded debut in an ordinary maiden at Leicester last June, Baaeed has gone unbeaten through his ten races, the last six of them at Group 1 level, earning comparisons with Frankel, who ended his own flawless campaign brilliantly here ten years ago.

The Sea The Stars colt was especially impressive when stepped up to a mile and a quarter for the first time in York's Juddmonte International, where Frankel also scored a similar wide-margin win on his penultimate appearance.

William Haggas has steered clear of making comparisons with Frankel, and he is unable to pinpoint quite what makes Baaeed so special, but he did not hold back when he said: “I've often likened what I do to being headmaster at a boarding school and this horse would get ten A stars at GCSE, he'd be captain of rugby, cricket, football and hockey, he'd breeze into Cambridge and he'd be Prime Minister. He's got it all. He's just good at everything he does.”

Remaining unbeaten has become all the more important the longer Baaeed's winning run has continued. Haggas said: “I think people want to see a really, really top horse stay unbeaten and win in style. Staying unbeaten is terribly important now that we are nearly there. Frankel obviously was unbeaten, but few are in a career at that level. It would be sad if he was beaten, but not for the people who beat him.

“I respect Adayar very much, as I respect Bay Bridge, who looked a fantastic horse at Sandown, but they've got to go to beat him.”

He added: “Everything so far this year has gone exactly as we wanted it to go when we sat down in March to decide our program. It's been half a miracle to get to this situation in the position we are in. The only slight caveat is that he might have gone to Ireland, because it sat very well in his program, but Sheikha Hissa was very keen for him to have just one more run after York, either in the Arc or the Champion, and we've probably made the right decision as it's turned out.

“He's so straightforward. He's been very sound, he has a fantastic mind, and he works how he races. So far he has passed every test, and his work on Monday was good. We are very happy. It's up to him now.”

While it would be easy to assume that it's all about Baaeed so far as the Haggas camp is concerned, the stable will also be represented by Dubai Honour and My Prospero, either of whom would have prospects in a more routine renewal.

Haggas said: “Dubai Honour was second last year, but it might not be soft enough for him. He's a good horse in his own right though, and he comes good at this time of year. He's going to have cheekpieces on and James Doyle gets a good tune out of him, so I think he'll run well.

“My Prospero has potential. He's a very talented horse but unfortunately when he won the Group 2 in France he slipped over after the line and he's taken a long time to come right. He's right now and he impressed both Tom (Marquand) and I in a piece of work on Tuesday. He probably wouldn't want it too soft.”

Adayar is the highest rated opponent Baaeed has ever met, although he is officially 8lb behind him on 127. His three-year-old campaign ended disappointingly when he was only fifth here 12 months ago, but that race came just 13 days after a better run under demanding conditions in the Arc. Reports suggest he is back to his best.

Charlie Appleby said: “I've been delighted with him. His preparation has gone well and he goes to Ascot in great shape – in better shape than a year ago without a shadow of a doubt. We couldn't have been more pleased with the way he did it at Doncaster on his return to the track, or more importantly the way he's come out of it.

“We know we've got a big task ahead of us, taking on Baaeed, but he's 100 percent the Adayar of old. We are relaxed about the ground. If it's decent ground then Baaeed will be hard to beat, but if it's testing we've got the experience in those conditions and we know he stays a mile and a half, so the stiff ten furlongs will suit him.”

He added: “I've no regrets at all about missing the Arc. It was a great race to watch and I was delighted for Sir Mark and all of his team, but I've no regrets whatsoever about not running there.”

One-time Derby favourite Stone Age, who was a close fifth behind stable-companion Luxembourg in last month's Irish Champion Stakes, represents Aidan O'Brien, who won here with Magical in 2019.

The field is completed by Noel Meade's Helvic Dream, who was a Group 1 winner in last year's Tattersalls Gold Cup; Jim Bolger's Mac Swiney, who won the 2021 Irish 2000 Guineas and was third here a year ago; and Roger Varian's Royal Champion, an easy Listed winner at Ayr last time.

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