Baaeed wins Sussex Stakes - Glorious Goodwood Wednesday wrap-up

The highest-rated racehorse in the world - Baaeed - took centre stage on day two of the Qatar Goodwood Festival as he turned on the style to win the £1m Qatar Sussex Stakes.

Baaeed leads home the Sussex Stakes field / Picture: Alan Crowhurst, Getty
Baaeed leads home the Sussex Stakes field / Picture: Alan Crowhurst, Getty

Baaeed was strong favourite for the day's - and week's - feature race, the highlight of another stellar afternoon's racing, and he did not disappoint. As ITV Racin'gs Kevin Blake said afterwards, he made good rivals look ordinary..

Baaeed cemented his position as the world’s highest-rated racehorse with a dominant length and three-quarter success, handing trainer William Haggas a first win in the mile highlight. Sent off the 1/6 favourite, Baaeed was shaken up by Jim Crowley to lead inside the final furlong and pulled away from Classic winner Modern Games (12/1) and last year’s winner Alcohol Free (11/1) in authoritative fashion.

This success takes Baaeed’s career record to a remarkable nine wins from nine starts and prize money earnings through the £2 million barrier. The four-year-old is now set to step beyond a mile for the first time in next month’s G1 Juddmonte International at York.

Haggas said: “I am relieved it’s over. Baaeed is such a nice horse. It is a great occasion and I said to Sheikha Hissa beforehand that the only time I’ve been photographed as much was when I walked into the paddock at Meydan and shook hands with her father [Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum] and about 50 people took my photo. 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.

“We had a little delay coming up here. It’s quite complicated as the boxes are quite a way away at Goodwood so you can’t walk up here. He was up here five minutes too late, but that’s the way it is. He was a little bouncy. He is a four-year-old colt and he knows it. Little things like being drawn next to Alcohol Free, the only filly in the race, does make you think, but actually once he gets going and once all the saddling is out of the way, he is a very professional horse."

Sheikha Hissa Hamdan Al Maktoum, daughter of the late Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “For me and my family, Baaeed means the world. He is a homebred and from the same family of Nashwan and the whole lineage. It’s good to see one of our best horses coming from the family that my father worked so hard on. He is a pleasure to have. He loves to work in the morning and it’s nice to see horses from a horse person’s perspective that they enjoy their job. Whenever I’m here, I love to come and see the horses. I was very happy to be here. When I came yesterday, I thought Baaeed was going to like it and he did well in the Group Three here last year [Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes]."

Pulborough-based Crowley said: “Baaeed just does what he has to. He is like his sire [Sea The Stars]. Just before the winning line, he pricked his ears and shut down with me. Baaeed is never going to be exuberant and win by 10 lengths, but the feeling I got off him between the three and the two-furlong pole, no horse can give you that feel.

Liz Hurley arrives at Goodwood with friend Henry Birtles / Picture: Alan Crowhurst, Getty

“I have never known a horse like him before. In the winner’s enclosure here, it’s like he was out having a pick of grass in the morning. He’s so relaxed. He has taken great strides and can do more than win the way he is doing it. I thought the most remarkable fact was that at Royal Ascot he ran the last two furlongs quicker than Nature Strip.

“He’s got everything; a turn of foot, you can put him anywhere in a race; you can make the running, or 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 am looking forward to it. I don’t have any worries about him going 10 furlongs. I wouldn’t have any worries if he went a mile-and-a-half, he’s that type of horse. It’s just a real pleasure to be part of him.

“I have ridden some lovely horses, I’ve been very lucky, but this is just on another level. The excitement and build-up before the race is great. It’s funny, I’m not a great sleeper, but I always sleep well the night before riding him. I don’t have any worries and he gives me confidence, and hopefully I give him some confidence as well.”

The Qatar Sussex Stakes is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

William Buick riding Oscula (L, white) to win The Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes / Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Elsewhere, actress Liz Hurley was among the famous faces seen arriving for the day's entertainment, as was actor Nigel Havers. Former footballers Andy Townsend, Michael Owen, Owen Hargreaves and Steve McManaman were picked out in the parade run by ITV Racing anchorman Ed Chamberlin.

Wednesday updates below...

Trillium a Molecomb marvel

Trillium (7/1) showed a sparkling turn of foot to provide trainer Richard Hannon with back-to-back wins in the G3 Markel Molecomb Stakes.

The daughter of No Nay Never, the only filly in the eight-strong line-up, was ridden with maximum confidence by Pat Dobbs and displayed sharp acceleration once angled to the stands’ rail.

Trillium, following in the footsteps of 2021 winner Armor, picked off even-money favourite Rocket Rodney in the final furlong to score by a cosy length and a quarter, with a further half-length back to Walbank (4/1).

Hannon said: “Trillium has always been a lovely filly and I was amazed she did not win here first time. She probably did not know enough and was a bit keen.

"She won her maiden very nicely at Newbury. We have come back from six furlongs to five and she is starting to look like a very nice two-year-old. She came in late and is a credit to Rockcliffe Stud [owner-breeder]. We have been extremely lucky with these colours, Sky Lantern and Snow Lantern, and it is lovely.

No need to whisper it

Oscula avenged a nose defeat at Ascot last weekend to win the seven-furlong G3 Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes in a thrilling finish.

The George Boughey-trained Oscula, who was well-backed into 10/3 favouritism, appeared to have a mountain to climb as 66/1 outsider Internationalangel skipped clear approaching the final furlong. However, William Buick galvanised his mount and the duo produced a strong late finish to get up on the line and win by a head. French raider Samahram (11/2) was beaten less than two lengths into third despite not having an ideal passage under Frankie Dettori.

Boughey, who was recording his first winner at the Qatar Goodwood Festival, said: “Oscula is a real flagbearer for Nick Bradley, who is a big supporter of the yard. She was a huge part of our team last year. I did have my doubts about whether she would come back this year. To come back and, I’m not sure how many times she’s run already this year, but she’s a real star and just keeps trying.

“My girlfriend Laura rides her out, so it is a special success. She has run four times in July and I think she is peaking here. To have run four days ago, she is a remarkable horse. She is by Galileo Gold, who is dear to our hearts, and it means a lot.

The secret is out

Royal Ascot scorer Secret State (11/4F) confirmed himself as a potential St Leger contender for Godolphin when defying top-weight in the opening Coral Beaten-By-A-Length Free Bet Handicap.

Despite hanging left in the closing stages under William Buick, Secret State had more than enough in the tank to score by a length and a quarter from Maksud (14/1), with Inverness (12/1) holding on for third in the 12-furlong contest.

Winning trainer Charlie Appleby said: “It is always tough to carry top-weight round here in a competitive handicap. Secret State had a nice draw and thankfully, despite hanging late on, he had enough left to win like he did. The most logical step now is to head for the Great Voltigeur at York. Secret State is improving with each run. I spoke to William [Buick] as to why he came across and he said that he was on one rein. There was no real reasoning – thankfully York is left-handed!

“That Royal Ascot race worked out well and physically he has done nothing but improve from the early summer to where we are today. Top marks to the team at home as he looks fantastic today and, off his homework and form he had behind him, we were confident.

“People have mooted him being a St Leger horse. He travels very strongly, and there will be a question mark [about stamina], but the Voltigeur will be a great indicator. The Gordon Stakes later this week is also a great pointer towards the Voltigeur, so we will get that out of the way first then we will put the round pegs hopefully not into square holes.”

Qatar International Stakes

Lady Princess (7/4F) became the second dual winner of the G1 Qatar International Stakes for purebred Arabians, quickening smartly to score by a neck from Hattal (7/1), with Samlla (4/1) a further length and a quarter away in third.

Last year’s winner travelled strongly in rear and, although Jim Crowley was forced to wait for an opening, he had so much horse underneath him that his mare picked up immediately once in the clear. The six-year-old joins Ebraz as the only other horse to win the Arabian Triple Crown race twice, in doing so taking her overall G1 haul to eight for trainer Thomas Fourcy and owner Khalifa bin Shaeil Al Kuwari.

Fourcy, who also took the spoils with Al Mourtajez in 2016, said: “Lady Princess really is an exceptional filly. She has such a turn of foot, no matter how the race unfolds, even today when they did not go very fast. I have had a lot of luck and have trained very good horses, but she is outstanding. We will go to the Qatar Arabian World Cup on Arc day, then on to Abu Dhabi and then maybe to the Dubai Kahayla Classic.”

Best of the rest

State Occasion (10/3F) justified strong late support to land the 10-furlong European Breeders Fund EBF Fillies' Handicap for jockey Rossa Ryan and trainer Ralph Beckett.

The daughter of Iffraaj travelled strongly in behind the pace before being produced to lead well over a furlong out, hitting the line strongly to score by a length and a half. Rousay (11/2) kept on well for second, with Value Theory (10/1) a further length and a quarter back in third.

Beckett said: “State Occasion has been crying out to be stepped up in trip and galloped out really strongly at Newbury the other day over a mile.

“I was keen to come here as I thought it would suit her. She won over seven furlongs at Chelmsford at the start of the year because I wanted to run her in the Kensington Palace at Royal Ascot. I thought she might win the Kensington Palace, but by then she was wanting 10 furlongs.

“Her owners will want me to look for some black type and we will get there eventually. There is a couple of fillies' Listed on the Polytrack in the autumn, we might plan that route. I think 10 furlongs is her gig, and there is also a race in France."

The Platinum Queen marked herself down as a Group-class filly as she set a course record in the five-furlong EBF Alice Keppel Fillies' Conditions Stakes for two-year-olds.

Sent off the 5/6 market leader, The Platinum Queen posted a time of 56.50s, almost two tenths quicker than Trillium’s course record, set in the G3 Markel Molecomb Stakes earlier on the card.

Runner-up Union Court (11/2) could never land a blow on The Platinum Queen, going down by four lengths, with Star Of Lady M (11/2) a further two lengths back in third.

Oisin Orr, riding his first winner at Goodwood, said: "The Platinum Queen is very fast. She likes to get out and do her own thing in front, but she is able to keep going as well. I think at Royal Ascot, I took her back out of the race and she never got involved from there. I think she likes to get on with things and go forward.

“It doesn't feel like she's going that fast – it feels like she is within her comfort zone. We'll see how she gets on up in grade, but she is doing everything right so far.”

Daniel Muscutt executed his plan to perfection on Lyndon B (18/1), who burst through in the final furlong to land the concluding seven-furlong World Pool Handicap in style.

Stall 14 was always going to make life difficult for Muscutt but, having dropped his mount out the back, the Zimbabwe-born rider knew that the cutaway was going to play into his hands in the straight.

Muscutt was rewarded for taking the brave route and his mount quickened up in scintillating style to score by a length and a quarter. The Attorney (9/2) was second, with 14/1 chance Dance Fever a further length and a quarter back in third.

This was a first Qatar Goodwood Festival success for Muscutt and trainer John Flint. Muscutt said: “John Flint has been a huge part of my career. Mid-way through my apprenticeship it sort of stalled really, but even though I had moved to Newmarket, he kept putting me on all his horses. Even if they were going to Ffos Las, Bath or Chepstow, he kept putting me on and kept me going when I needed it. To reward him with a nice winner, I am made up."