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Sun-drenched Newbury heralds return of racing’s new superstar

Baaeed answers every question and more with imperious Lockinge performance.

Baaeed ridden by Jim Crowley on their way to victory.
Baaeed ridden by Jim Crowley on their way to victory.
Image: PA

Updated May 14th 2022, 6:52 PM

THERE WERE TO be no bubbles burst here on Saturday. Not on this lush, green strip of Berkshire turf.

The Lockinge Stakes in particular, is invariably a pebble on the sea bed, rather than some unnavigable rock that casts aspirations adrift.

This race is a welcoming embrace for smart horses with big seasons ahead, the first stepping stone to a string of top-class targets.

Nothing could dampen the spirits. The sun shone. The ice cream van did a roaring trade. Summer had arrived. And so had Baaeed.

Some fancied horses have been beaten in this race, of course. Yet you had to go back a couple of decades to find the last odds-on shot beaten in the race.

William Haggas is not one to take chances. He is softly-spoken, considered. A measured pragmatist who plots a path without flim or flam. Though a genial man, he does not take fools gladly. One knows where one stands with him. As it should be.

This was “a good starting point” for Baaeed he said succinctly, the exciting prospect in his care who came into this unbeaten in six races, justifying cramped odds on four occasions.

His last run, back in October, saw him down last year’s Lockinge winner Palace Pier in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, his second successive Group One victory in a career that did not start until June.

Of course there were some questions to answer. The four-year-old’s rivals included dual Group One-winning filly Alcohol Free, who had blown the cobwebs off at Sandown in the bet365 Mile, and dual Group Two winner Real World, who was hoping to revive the fortunes of Saeed bin Suroor.

There was Classic-winning miler Mother Earth. The tough Chindit had won at the second level, New Mandate had taken a Royal Lodge.

Twenty minutes before his ride, his big-race jockey, Jim Crowley, had been dragged out of the weighing room to collect his prize for winning the London Gold Cup with Israr, for the same Shadwell Stud owners.

“There’s no pressure,” he smiled. “He’ll be OK.”

EARLIER NASHWA BOOSTED HER Classic claims with victory in the Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes at Newbury.

The Frankel filly had made an impressive seasonal debut at Haydock last month, after finishing third on her only juvenile start, and she was duly sent off the 5-6 favourite to double her tally under Hollie Doyle.

Nashwa was settled last of the seven runners as outsider Flash Betty set the gallop, but she could be noted travelling with ease half a mile from home in the 10-furlong event.

She made effortless progress to grab the initiative with a couple of furlongs to run, but 22-1 shot Stay Alert was not going down without a fight, battling back in the final furlong.

However, Nashwa was never in danger, recording a length-and-three-quarter triumph with Mukaddamah staying on for third.

Trainer John and Thady Gosden already house the Cazoo Oaks favourite in Musidora Stakes scorer Emily Upjohn, but Nashwa could yet take her chance at Epsom on June 3 and she is as low as 7-1 with some firms for the fillies’ Classic.

Connections were in no rush to commit to an Epsom outing though, with the French version at Chantilly on June 19 another possible option.

Also today, Persian Force booked his ticket for Royal Ascot with an effortless success in the BetVictor Conditions Stakes at Newbury.

Richard Hannon’s charge won the Brocklesby at Doncaster on his racecourse bow in March and was all the rage to follow up as he tried six furlongs for the first time.

Just three runners went to post, with another previous winner, Holguin, setting out to make all while Aidan O’Brien’s newcomer Sierra Blanca raced upsides down the middle of the track.

Rossa Ryan was happy to tuck in behind the Andrew Balding-trained Holguin on the 8-13 market leader until switched out to make his challenge as Sierra Blanca quickly dropped away.

Persian Force swept by the pace-setter in a matter of strides and pulled clear in the closing stages, coming home two and a half lengths clear.

Hannon believes the Mehmas colt compares favourably with former stable star Canford Cliffs, who landed the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot before going on to notch five Group One victories at three and four.

Persian Force is now set to follow the same route to Ascot.

BACK AT HOME, MICHAEL O’CALLAGHAN UNLEASHED a smart prospect as Harry Time ran out an impressive winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden at Navan to set up a possible Royal Ascot run.

Always travelling nicely, the son of top sprinter Harry Angel picked up in eyecatching fashion for Leigh Roche when asked, ultimately scoring by a length and a quarter from Broadhurst.

The six-furlong Coventry Stakes at next month’s Royal meeting could now be the next port of call for the 4-1 winner.

O’Callaghan said: “He loved the ground. He’s sort of an uncomplicated horse, a good-moving horse, and very laid-back.

“I’m delighted he went and did it the way he did because if he didn’t, the others are no good at home! We’ve run a yardstick now and we are happy with him, delighted. We obviously have a nice bunch to run. It is no good catching pigeons in the morning if they can’t do it in the afternoon.

“I think he could be a Coventry horse – the stiff six in Ascot for the Coventry.

“He got a bit more idle in front than anything – he won well.”

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When asked if he is one of his best juveniles, he replied: “I have some nice ones, but yes he is up there. They have to go and do it.”

Ger Lyons will step up in class with Cairde Go Deo (5-2) following her victory in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Yeats Stakes.

The daughter of Camelot was tackling a mile and five furlongs for the first time under Colin Keane – three furlongs further than she had run over before – but she showed no signs of stopping when coming home eight lengths clear of Hotter Than Hades.

The race was marred by an injury to 4-6 favourite Arbutus, who had won his only previous start but was pulled up when he went wrong in the straight.

Lyons said: “She’s all about the trip and loves the ground. We were going to wait for the Munster Oaks (in Cork), but we took a view at the start of the week that this might cut up, and it did.

“We would never be afraid of Aidan (O’Brien) but you’d be afraid of him the way his horses are running at the moment. I don’t like seeing that (Arbutus being injured).

“We watched the Lingfield trials last weekend and part of me thought did I leave one behind me, but I’d rather do it in Navan and take it from there.

“A mile and a half and good ground at the minute would be the Munster Oaks. Time will tell whether she is worth stepping up into the big game.”

Lyons was pleased to see Cairde Go Deo shine on the track and expects her to be Group three calibre at least.

He added: “These type of horses show me nothing at home. We’ve always seen her as a nice two-year-old last year.

“Even So (2020 Irish Oaks winner) was a quality, quality filly. When we won the Oaks, we were running for pieces. Trip horses don’t show me much at home, I have to see it out here.

“It will be another step forward in the Munster Oaks and then we’ll see.

“She’s very straightforward and a gorgeous looking filly, a typical Camelot. A good temperament and Even So had a great temperament. I’ve had a few Camelots that don’t have a good temperament but she does have a good temperament.

“She’s a Group Three horse, what she is after that time will tell. Those Group Twos and Group Ones are hens’ teeth but we are on the right track.”

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