Monday, June 24, 2024

‘Baaeed had everything’ – William Haggas on the Europe’s champion racehorse | Topics: William Haggas, IFHA, Shadwell, TRC Global Rankings, Baaeed | Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

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Baaeed: European champion has retired to Shadwell’s Nunnery Stud at an initial fee of £80,000. Photo: Steven Cargill / for IFHA

In his own words, Baaeed’s trainer reflects on the career of the world’s top-rated turf horse for 2022.


Baaeed was Europe’s champion racehorse of 2022. Owned and bred by Shadwell, the son of Sea The Stars was retired to stud with a career record of ten wins from 11 starts, having finished fourth in his final race in the Qipco Champion Stakes over a mile and a quarter at Ascot.

A six-time G1 winner, Baaeed was world #1 on Thoroughbred Racing Commentary’s exclusive Global Rankings until being supplanted by US superstar Flightline, the only horse rated above him this week at the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Ceremony in London. Already named Cartier’s Horse of the Year for 2022, he can also be labelled as both a European champion and a world champion on turf.

Here, in his own words, Baaeed’s trainer William Haggas talks about the horse who lit up the European turf scene.

Baaeed enjoyed a great career, taking us on a wonderful journey.

It is my job to try to produce stallions and mares to go to stud but it doesn’t happen a lot. The majority of horses aren’t good enough or gelded.

So to get one like Baaeed was absolutely fantastic, and then not to mess it up. That’s the other thing.

Baaeed (Jim Crowley) steps up to a mile and a quarter for a 6½-length victory in the Juddmonte International at York. Photo: for IFHAHow many good horses over the years have fallen by the wayside because they are not sound? Baaeed had everything. He had a good brain, a good deal of ability and he was really sound. And that’s rare to get all three.

If he had won the Champion Stakes at Ascot he still would’ve been going to stud and even after he got beat there was no need for Sheikha Hissa to want to prove he was a really good horse by keeping him in training. He couldn’t have done anymore.

More of a talking point is, did we run him in the right race? It was the first thing my wife Maureen said to me when we got in the car after his Ascot defeat. I said with hindsight probably not, because it was soft ground and maybe he’d have won the mile race [Queen Elizabeth II Stakes] on the soft.

But only a lunatic, after he had won the Juddmonte International like he did, would’ve said: ‘I am not going to run him at a mile and a quarter again, I am going to run him over a mile.’ So it was irrelevant.

I always thought he would like the ground because he won on the soft at Goodwood but I don’t think he liked the ground at Ascot that day.

My Prospero, who is a very good horse of ours, finished third in that race. For me, at that time, they weren’t in the same league. If I’d worked them together it would’ve been a no contest.

At least he is the best turf horse. Flightline has been a great horse as well; he just came along at the same time. What is interesting is that neither of them ran at two. Would they have been as good as they turned out if they had?

I would’ve run Baaeed at two if I could. The beauty of it is no-one knows. Ask John Sadler if Flightline would’ve been as good had he got him on the track at two and he’d probably say he wouldn’t, and I would say the same.

Baaeed: ready for a second career as a Shadwell stallion. Photo: Steven Cargill / for IFHAI haven’t had many horses like Baaeed. I kept saying to the boys and girls in the yard, ‘Enjoy this because we ain’t gonna to get one like this again,’ because he was easy.

He was straightforward to ride. That’s no disrespect to Ricky who rode him every day but he was an easy ride. He was keen to please but it wasn’t like what John Sadler said that Flightline was good from day one.

This horse developed. He was intelligent, sound and he had a lot of ability. It’s rare you get all three things in one package, maybe two or one.

So many horses have the ability but not the brain. He had them all.

• William Haggas was speaking at Jon Lees at the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Ceremony

• Visit the Shadwell Stud website and the IFHA website

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