The superlatives were flying at Royal Ascot on Tuesday after a pair of horses with Dubai connections, Baaeed and Coroebus, claimed the opening day’s honours at British racing’s annual summer spectacle.
Baaeed, a product of Shadwell Estate, the breeding empire owned by the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, aced the opposition in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes before Godolphin’s Coroebus overcame traffic congestion to record a gut-wrenching victory in the St. James’s Palace Stakes (G1). The third Group 1 contest on the day, the 1,000-metre King’s Stand Stakes, fell to Australian speedball Native Strip, who follows in the footsteps of former legendary winners from Down Under — Choisir, Miss Andretti, and Black Caviar.
However, typically it was a memorable afternoon’s racing at Royal Ascot, which has held the racing world’s attention ever since it was founded by Queen Anne in 1711.
Attention also centered on Baaeed, a champion in the making who has elicited comparisons to the legendary Frankel.
No horse has come close to accomplishing what Frankel did during his spectacular career between 2010-2012 where he won all 14 of his career starts, but Baaeed is staking a strong case after posting his eighth straight victory and fourth at the highest level.
However, there is a slight twist in the tale. Baaeed, a four-year-old son of Sea The Stars, did not set foot on a racecourse until the middle of his three-year-old career, while Frankel had already won six races at this point.
One this is clear, Baaeed is clearly catching up and doing so in a dominant fashion as his Royal Ascot victory showed.
With the ice-cool Jim Crowley doing the steering, Baaeed needed little reminding that he had a task to do, kicking clear of Godolphin’s Real World in the closing stages for a compelling length and a half victory.
Speaking to Sky Sports Racing, Crowley said: “That was very special. Everything went smoothly.
“He’s so relaxed. A joy to ride. He’s going to have sterner tests ahead but he’s just doing everything perfectly at the moment.”
Another horse who looks like he is at the peak of his powers is Coroebus, Charlie Appleby’s 2000 Guineas winner, who battled hard for big-race jockey William Buick to just hold on for victory in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
The unlucky horse in the race was Maljoom, the mount of Kieren Fallon, who flew home from the back of the field only to be denied on the line.
Commenting on Coroebus, Buick said: “You have to enjoy these good horses and I’m privileged to get on these good horses. But at the same time, it’s a case of getting the job done. He’s a very good horse.”
Appleby, who was notching his 12th Royal Ascot success, said: “I just wish the pace had been stronger, but his class and determination got us over the line.”
Appleby did not rule out a clash with Baaeed in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood (July 27) and said that it will be discussed positively.
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