where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2022-10-14 08:16:27  
Baaeed heads for Swansong on Champions Day

Superstar Baaeed the biggest star of a quality packed British Champions Day at Ascot

The cast list for Saturday's (15 October) British Champions Day includes 16 Group 1-winning horses, who have seized 41 races at the highest level between them. And Ascot's six-race programme - four of them G1s at Britain's richest race meeting - has attracted 78 contenders, one of whom can correctly be described as a superstar.

That superb four-year-old colt is Baaeed who is unbeaten in ten starts, the last six at G1 level. Setting off from gate one, he will face eight rivals in the Champion Stakes (1993m) with the added significance being that he retires to stud after Saturday's encounter with Adayar, who challenges Baaeed in perhaps the biggest examination of his incredible career.

Baaeed, the William Haggas-trained son of Sea The Stars, delivered a magnificent career-best when storming to runaway victory in the G1 International Stakes (2051m) at York in August, announcing with speed, stamina and class that he was even more dominant over middle distances than a mile.

Of the Champion Stakes, his regular jockey Jim Crowley says: "I am more excited than nervous about Saturday." And the 44-year-old adds this bullish observation about the highest-rated turf horse in the world. "I'm probably the only one who knows how good Baaeed is. Riding in these championship races you get the feel of what is left in the tank and I think that after all those races I have ridden him in, we still haven't reached what he is capable of."

In 2021, Adayar became the first horse for 20 years to add to his Classic victory in the G1 Derby (2405m) at Epsom by then outclassing the older generation in the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2392m) at Ascot with this son of Frankel setting himself up for Saturday's mammoth encounter by returning from a lengthy absence to easily win last month's Doncaster Conditions Stakes (2039m).

Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby says of Adayar. "We couldn't be more pleased with the way he did it at Doncaster and he goes to Ascot in great shape, in better shape than a year ago (when fifth) for sure. He is now 100 percent the Adayar of old. If the ground is testing so much the better as we have the experience on those conditions and Ascot's stiff ten furlongs will suit ideally."

Adayar will be ridden as usual by William Buick who will be crowned champion jockey for 2022 at Ascot after the most dominant UK performance by one rider in one season in recent times. Earlier Buick and Appleby will attempt to repeat last year's G1 British Champions Sprint Stakes (1200m) success with Creative Force.

Not very big but with a serious winning attitude, Creative Force faces 17 rivals over Ascot's straight 1200m, including Frankie Dettori's mount Kinross. The Ralph Beckett-trained seven-times winner also seems to love passing rivals, accelerating impressively under Dettori to decisively win this month's G1 Prix de la Foret (1400m) at Longchamp with the record seeming to show that 1400m, not 1200m, is his ideal trip.

He was only ninth in this race last year. However, close inspection reveals that Kinross had a dismal passage that day and was making rapid late progress by which time it was too late.

John Gosden-trained Dettori ridden Inspiral - winner of six of her seven starts - will surely start favourite for the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (1600m) with another classy three-year-old, Appleby-trained, Buick- ridden Modern Games - who shot clear of his rivals in last month's G1 Woodbine Mile (1600m) in Canada - probably being her main rival.

The three-year-old age group has easily the strongest record in this encounter over Ascot's straight 1600m, but Hollie Doyle gives a big shout to her six-year-old mount, dual G3 winner Tempus. "He is always good from the gate except last time when he ruined his chance with a slow start. I'm sure you can forget that and I hope for a much quicker break this time, plus he loves the straight mile here."


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