The breathtaking Baaeed puts his unbeaten record on the line on Saturday afternoon in the Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, taking on eight rivals including last year’s 1000 Guineas heroine Mother Earth.
Baaeed will look to join an illustrious list of Lockinge winners, including arguably two of the best milers we’ve ever seen in Frankel and Brigadier Gerard.
Also in the field is Real World who brings his unbeaten record on turf to the party as well as Andrew Balding’s Group One-winning filly Alcohol Free.
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Baaeed and Jim Crowley after winning the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
Jockey: Jim Crowley; Trainer: William Haggas
William Haggas’ superstar colt made it six from six at Ascot on Champions Day, beating last year’s Lockinge winner Palace Pier by a neck.
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Still has relatively low mileage, worryingly for his opposition, it’s likely this son of Sea The Stars has even more improvement to come as a four-year-old.
Seems versatile tactically and ground wise as well as being comfortably the highest rated in the field so should take all the beating.
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J: Pat Dobbs; T: Richard Hannon
Has come up short on a few occasions at the highest level but looked as good as ever when beating Tempus at Doncaster on his seasonal reappearance.
Pulled away nicely in the final furlong there and there should be more to come from Richard Hannon’s colt but on all known form he’s set to compete for minor honours at best.
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J: Rossa Ryan; T: Richard Hannon
Looked very smart at two when winning his first two starts including the Group Three Solario Stakes at Sandown.
Put in his place later that season when well-beaten in the Dewhurst and has ultimately been disappointing since.
Struggled on his reappearance when finishing ninth in a Newbury handicap four weeks ago and while he could get his career back on track this season, it looks likely he will struggle at this much higher level.
J: Richard Kingscote; T: Ralph Beckett
Showed a good attitude when returning to winning ways on his first run of the season in the Listed Paradise stakes at Ascot 17 days ago, making it four wins from his last six outings.
Looked smart at two and only ran once as a three-year-old so interesting to see how he progresses this year.
The chances are he’d be much more at home in calmer waters.
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J: Danny Tudhope; T: Saeed Bin Suroor
Progressed throughout last season concluding with a cosy win in a Group Two at Longchamp on Arc weekend.
Started this year much the same way with a win on the Turf at Meydan but well beaten on dirt the last twice at Group One level.
Is five from five on the turf so should relish the return to this surface and looks likely to be in the shakeup if that is the case.
J: Hollie Doyle; T: William Knight
The most exposed horse in the field, William Knight’s six-year-old is now on an 18-race losing streak going back to June 2020 despite some gallant efforts in defeat.
Finished second of four behind the re-opposing New Mandate last time and another that will need to take a big step forward to get involved.
Frankie Dettori riding Sunray Major
J: Frankie Dettori; T: John & Thady Gosden
A lightly raced son of Dubawi, he made an encouraging reappearance when finishing fifth in a Sandown Group Two finishing just behind Alcohol Free.
That was his first run at Group level and under Frankie Dettori he could get involved at a big price if stepping forward from that run, which looks entirely possible.
Oisin Murphy celebrates as Alcohol Free crosses the line in front in the Sussex Stakes
J: Rob Hornby; T: Andrew Balding
Top class Group One-winning filly who slightly disappointed when finishing third at Sandown on reappearance three weeks ago.
Was tried in the hood there which is quickly dispensed with and if she’s back to her best here she could run into a place,
Was well beaten by Baaeed in October in the Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot.
Ryan Moore rides Mother Earth to victory in Park Express Stakes at The Curragh
J: Ryan Moore; T: Aidan O’Brien
Tough consistent filly of Aidan O’Brien’s whose biggest victory came in last year’s 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Backed that up later in the season when winning the Group One Prix Rothschild at Deauville as well as running a number of gallant efforts in defeat.
Reappeared with victory at The Curragh, asserting close home and looks the most likely of all to give Baaeed a scare.
Lewis’ big-race verdict
The superstar Baaeed looks like he’s going to take all the beating here and is well clear of the field on ratings.
Still lightly raced, it’s entirely possible there is even more to come from him which is a terrifying prospect for the opposition.
Godolphin’s Real World and Aidan O’Brien’s Guineas winner Mother Earth look most likely to fill the places.
Out of the potential improvers, Sunray Major looks most intriguing if he can build on his Sandown reappearance.
1st – Baaeed
2nd – Real World
3rd – Mother Earth