William Haggas talks all things Baaeed in our special feature ahead of next week's £1m Juddmonte International
The brilliant and unbeatyen Baaeed is on course to take his place in the £1m Juddmonte International Stakes at York next Wednesday with the Shadwell supserstar one of eight entries to stand their ground at Thursday's confirmation stage.
Baaeed steps up in trip to an extended mile and a quarter for the very first time in what is arguably the most anticipated start of his unblemished career so far, while the four-year-old also bids to emulate sire Sea The Stars with victory in the day-one highlight of the Sky Bet Ebor Festival.
Trainer William Haggas said: “I think he’ll stay (the trip), no problem. Whether he’s better, I don’t know.
“We planned to go to the Juddmonte very early on. A four-year-old miler of his quality, the programme is very straightforward in the early part of the season. It’s Lockinge, Queen Anne, and then the Sussex.
“And then it’s sort of do you go for the Moulin or the Jacques Le Marois or do you go up in trip? We put him in the Irish Champion just in case he needed more time between the Sussex and the Juddmonte. And I’m pleased to say everything is on schedule to go on next Wednesday.
“He’s had lots of publicity recently. He’s had lots of cameras this week and he takes it in his stride, much better than his trainer!
“He’s got a good temperament. Most of the good ones are a bit tricky. He’s just a nice person to have around.”
The new distance will usher in new fresh rivals to test Baaeed and jockey Jim Crowley, but Haggas is optimistic of a big performance on the long home straight of the Knavesmire.
“It feels right to me," added yhe trainer. "You’d think that he can just sit and wait and let it all unfold, and then if his turn of foot is there…
“I think Jim has a lot of confidence in the horse and trusts the horse to quicken. It’s really exciting; it’s strange to talk about it because he just does it and he’s done it every single time.”
Newmarket-based Haggas hails from Yorkshire and loves to have winners at the Sky Bet Ebor Festival. But he said: “Everyone makes a big deal of me wanting to win at York – I want to win everywhere.
“We beat the prize money drum the whole time and York are actually fantastic at putting their hand in their pocket. Every race is valuable in its own right and the Juddmonte is the £1 million race at the Ebor Festival. So, of course we want to win it.”
Haggas could be triple-handed in the race with last year’s Juddmonte International runner-up Alenquer and July’s Group Two York Stakes second. Dubai Honour also standing their ground at today's confirmation stage.
Haggas said: “Dubai Honour wants slow ground. If it’s good or good to soft he’ll run and so will Alenquer. That’s against Baaeed.”
Other potential opponents include Point Lonsdale and High Definition from the Aidan O'Brien yard, while defending champion Mishriff is in the mix for John and Thady Gosden. Classic winner Native Trail is also in contention for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin with the impressive line-up completed by Sir Busker, winner over course and distance in last month's Sky Bet York Stakes for trainer William Knight and owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds.
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