Bay Bridge snaps Baaeed's unbeaten record

Shadwell star finishes fourth in career swansong on Champions Day at Ascot



Jockey Jim Crowley on Baaeed before the Champion Stakes on Saturday. — AFP
Jockey Jim Crowley on Baaeed before the Champion Stakes on Saturday. — AFP

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Sat 15 Oct 2022, 9:12 PM

Last updated: Sun 16 Oct 2022, 8:24 PM

Sadly, there was no fairytale Disney ending for Baaeed, the world’s best turf horse, as he suffered the first defeat in his glittering career on British Champions Day at Ascot Racecourse in the UK on Saturday.

Sent off as the huge favourite to win the Group 1 £1.3m British Champion Stakes in what was intended to be his swansong, Baaeed could only finish fourth on unfavourable ground at the historic racecourse.

Like Disney, who sometimes alters endings, the script did not go according to plan for the horse that was bred and owned by Shadwell Estate, the breeding empire of the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the former Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.

With Sheikha Hessa bint Hamdan Al Maktoum, the daughter of Sheikh Hamdan, one of the most influential figures in the sport of horse racing for over four decades, in attendance at Ascot, Jim Crowley could not conjure up the magic that Baaeed was regarded for as Bay Bridge stole his thunder in the hands of Derby-winning rider, Richard Kingscote.

British jockey Richard Kingscote rides Bay Bridge to victory in the Champion Stakes on Saturday. — AFP
British jockey Richard Kingscote rides Bay Bridge to victory in the Champion Stakes on Saturday. — AFP

Last year’s Epsom Derby winner Adayar ran a blinder for champion jockey William Buick to finish second by half a length while My Prospero and Tom Marquand stayed on well to take third, a further nose behind.

However, it was a day to celebrate for Team Godolphin, the global racing stable created by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as they bagged two Championship titles for the 2022 British Racing season, which officially culminated on Saturday.

Godolphin were declared Champion Owner and William Buick was the Champion Jockey. Godolphin's Charlie Appleby is set to pick up the trainers title as he leads Wliam Haggas.

Meanwhile, speaking to Racing TV, trainer William Haggas paid tribute to Baaeed saying: “It is deflating, but he is still a good horse. I'm sad he didn't win for his connections, as well as all the people at the yard who have worked tirelessly to get him there. There you go, it's horse racing.

Crowley, who had partnered Baaeed in eight of his 10 career victories, including six at Group 1 level, added: “It is unbelievable the journey we have been on. He is a very special horse and, sadly, he does not finish his career unbeaten as we have come so far. For me today, it was just sad as that kick I know he has wasn't there.

"Baaeed has captured the imagination and I'm sorry we couldn't do it today. He is a special horse still."

Asked how it felt to have beaten Baaeed, trained by his great friend William Haggas, winning trainer Sir Michael Stoute replied: "I hope we are still friends!

"Bay Bridge was very brave. I am absolutely thrilled. The staff has done a great job with this horse.”

Kingscote, who won the Epsom Derby for Stoute with Desert Crown, said: “It is surreal really. This is perfect to ride beautiful horses like this.”

Winners of the other races on the card were Kinross (Champions Sprint), Emily Upjohn (Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes), Bayside Boy (QEII Stakes), and Shelti (Balmoral Handicap).


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