Ahead of the 2022 Flat season, one of the most undoubtedly exciting names to reappear will be Baaeed. William Haggas’ unbeaten superstar rose to prominence with a string of stellar performances last season and is now the top dog in the mile division. Below, we have previewed his likely stopping points as he looks to enhance his reputation even further.
William Haggas has already entered Baaeed in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May.
Therefore, he can already be backed for the race and at prohibitive prices as well. He is no better than a 4/5 shot across the board and there should be few surprises as to why. On the final start of his six-race unbeaten streak to date, he scared Palace Pier, the previous king of the miling division, into retirement.
There are two challenges that will face Baaeed most immediately in this race. The first is that he comes to Newbury for the first time and while the Lockinge is run over a straight mile, it is a track that is left-handed, an orientation Baaeed has never faced before.
Moreover, now aged four, he is no longer in receipt of any age allowances against older horses. While that should not pose too many issues given his dominance last term, improvement from three to four might be necessary.
Queen Anne Stakes
The opening race of Royal Ascot could crown and confirm Baaeed at one of flat racing’s pinnacle worldwide meetings.
For all that he won on British Champions’ Day last year, the crowd of 25,000 was less than half of Ascot’s maximum capacity. Similarly, despite its name, the Champions’ meeting pales in comparison to the splendour of the Royal meeting.
His victory at Ascot came on the same straight track which he will face again in June. That cosy win suggests he could easily extend his run with few of the established order looking like stepping up in opposition.
Goodwood was the track at which Baaeed really announced his talent last season.
Although he had won three from three prior to his run in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Stakes, the cambered, consistently downhill nature of the Goodwood track ensured that he faced a new test. Starting at 2/5, he galloped clear to a breathless 6½ length success. He had stepped up from Listed company with ease.
The Sussex Stakes, should that appear on his calendar, would be his first visit since. Similarly, it would be the first occasion in which he could meet this year’s Classic generation.
Should the likes of Native Trail or Inspiral take their respective Guineas assignments and remain at a mile, this race could turn into Baaeed’s toughest test. Alternatively, a new name could emerge in much the same fashion he did a year ago.
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
And so to Baaeed’s possible attempt at a second straight unbeaten season. At the end of a competitive term that may have been fuelled by three more Group 1s, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes may set the stage for his coronation once again.
Or will it? There will doubtless be stiff assignments on the way, with the Sussex Stakes quite possibly representing his first meeting with younger horses. However, more to the point, will Baaeed definitely stay to a mile?
One thing that is important to remember with Baaeed approaching this season is that despite having been unstoppable over a mile to this point, his pedigree suggests he should stay further quite comfortably.
He is by Sea The Stars, whose progeny often develop into middle distance and staying types. Similarly, he is a full brother to Hukum, a multiple Group race winner over 1m4f and upwards.
The Lockinge will be the first port of call and the miling division remains his to conquer to begin with. However, should connections wish to roll the dice, they could easily choose to with significant faith that he will get the trip. It may even come sooner than the Champion Stakes and may not even be limited to 1m2f.