Baaeed produced a devastating turn of foot under Jim Crowley to take his unbeaten record to nine races in the Gr1 Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on Wednesday.
Japanese raider Bathrat Leon set a sensible pace in the mile showpiece, with the William Haggas-trained Baaeed patiently ridden towards the back of the seven-strong field.
Cruising on the bridle, Baaeed was pulled wide by Crowley and immediately found another gear, powering clear to win by an easy length and three-quarters at odds of 1-6, with French Guineas winner Modern Games chasing him home.
July Cup winner Alcohol Free stayed on from the back of the pack to finish third.
“I’m relieved it’s over. Baaeed is such a nice horse. It’s great,” said Haggas, who confirmed York’s Juddmonte International as the next target.
“Today was a big day. I can’t tell you how sad it is for all of us that Sheikh Hamdan is not here to witness it. He did everything for days like this and he would have loved it.
“Baaeed has speed and class. I’m really looking forward to stepping up to 10 furlongs as I think he would enjoy it.
“I don’t think we need to go for the Arc. I think we’ll go for the Champion Stakes or the QEII depending on how he gets on at York.
“I just said to Jim in the paddock, we’ve got him for two more races after this so let’s just enjoy him and make the most of him, because he will most likely go to stud at the end of the year and I’ll spend the rest of my training career trying to find the next one.
“If Baaeed can win five Group Ones trained by us then he must be (very good)! He is a very straightforward horse.”
Comparisons with Frankel – who went to York after his second win in the Sussex before signing off at Ascot in the Champion Stakes – continue to be inevitable, and Crowley is in no doubt about his mount’s class.
He said: “He’s got everything, a turn of foot. You can put him anywhere in a race. You can make the running, you can drop him out. Good horses like that, they just tick all the boxes. It will be interesting up to a mile and a quarter next time – I’m looking forward to it.
“If he can show that turn of foot over a mile and a quarter – he switches off and relaxes, he could well be (the greatest).
Charlie Appleby said of Modern Games: “He is like his father [Dubawi] – he goes down on his sword. Everyone said to me you’ve got your substitute, but he is no substitute – he has won a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and a French Guineas. I would like to have a few more substitutes like that!
“William has given him a great ride. We were in the box seat. The winner is a very good horse, and full plaudits to him. From our point of view, we are delighted.
“We have always worked back from the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and that is going to be the plan. I don’t think you will see him now – he will either go to Canada or Keeneland and then you will see him in Kentucky for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
“I hope he will stay in training. I feel that where we with the horses that we have to potentially retire to the farm, he deserves to stay on for another year and have another crack at it.”
William Buick said: “It was a race for second and Modern Games came second, so we are delighted. It is nice for him to come back to this form after his run over seven furlongs in the Jean Prat. He has plenty of talent. The winner did what we suspected. I did not see him until quite late. He is an exceptional horse, a fantastic horse, take nothing away from him.”
Alcohol Free’s trainer Andrew Balding said: “Alcohol Free has run a marvellous race. I thought Rob Hornby did a beautiful job of getting her to settle.
“She was checked at a crucial stage, but she would not have got anywhere near the winner. However, despite losing some momentum, she has put her head down and stayed on right the way to the line. She has run a fantastic race and we are delighted with her.
“William Haggas couldn’t believe how much she had developed as you sort of miss it when you see her every day. She has really developed into a fantastic looking racemare and we are thrilled with her.
“I am leaving future plans up to Jeff [Smith, owner]. We have entered her in everything over six furlongs up to a mile at Group One level. The filly will tell us to a certain extent, but anything is possible. It could be France, the Matron Stakes or the Haydock Sprint Cup. She owes us nothing, but she is thriving at the minute, but as soon as we think she has had enough, that will be that.”
Rob Hornby added: “We had to take our time and make sure Alcohol Free settled, which she did nicely. At the two and a half, I would have loved a nice clear run at things, but I had to check slightly, gather her up and go again. I was confident that I was grabbing third, but I might have given the second a race.”