Lockinge Stakes: Baaeed facing genuine test in smart Newbury renewal after warming up with Chelmsford gallop

Baaeed is unbeaten after winning all six of his starts last season, including the QEII at Ascot in October; William Haggas' star faces eight rivals in Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday; Danny Tudhope called up to ride Real World

Baaeed ridden by Jim Crowley wins the Edmondson Hall Solicitors Sir Henry Cecil Stakes during Ladies Day of the 2021 Moet and Chandon July Festival at Newmarket racecourse. Picture date: Thursday July 8, 2021.
Image: Baaeed will aim to make it seven unbeaten with victory in the Lockinge on Saturday

Baaeed will face eight rivals as William Haggas' superstar returns to action in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

The four-year-old, who was unraced at two, went from winning a maiden in June to landing the Prix du Moulin and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at the end of the season.

He is rated as one of the best horses in the world and all eyes will be on him as he gets his season under way.

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Jockey Jim Crowley, who rode Baaeed in a racecourse gallop at Chelmsford to prepare for Newbury, told the British Champion Series: "I was extremely happy with Baaeed at Chelmsford and I'm really looking forward to riding him again at Newbury. Horses like him don't come around very often.

"He's up against two good fillies who are match fit [Alcohol Free and Mother Earth] as well as Real World, but he was a revelation last year.

"Palace Pier was an exceptional horse, so what Baaeed did on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot was excellent, especially when you remember he hadn't been on a racecourse until June.

"Hopefully he's progressed again, although he probably wouldn't need to have progressed too much on the figures.

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Baaeed and Jim Crowley after winning the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
Image: Jim Crowley smiles after winning the QEII Stakes at Ascot

"The ground was on the slower side at Ascot and they hacked and then sprinted. On better ground I'm pretty sure he would have picked up better - just look at the way he quickened at Newmarket in July the last time he raced on fast ground.

"He's an absolute pleasure to ride. He's got manners and he's just a lovely horse. I'm really looking forward to him."

His chief market rival is Aidan O'Brien's Mother Earth, the winner of last year's 1000 Guineas. She has the benefit of a run this season having won first time out in the Park Express Stakes.

Another classy filly last year was Andrew Balding's Alcohol Free who has also had a run, having finished third in a Group Two at Sandown.

Oisin Murphy celebrates as Alcohol Free crosses the line in front in the Sussex Stakes
Image: Oisin Murphy celebrates as Alcohol Free crosses the line in front in the Sussex Stakes

Saeed bin Suroor's Real World is on something of a retrieval mission, as having made giant strides last season on turf he has disappointed the last twice on dirt in the Saudi Cup and Dubai World Cup.

Danny Tudhope has been given the call-up to ride Real World, having won on him at the Dubai Carnival later in the year.

"You'd have to put a line through his two runs since on dirt as that's a whole different game," said Tudhope. "He's a different horse on grass and the Meydan win was his fifth in a row. If you excuse the dirt runs he's a very good ride to have and one I'm looking forward to."

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New Mandate lines up for Ralph Beckett having got back to winning ways at Ascot last time out, while Sunray Major runs for John and Thady Gosden.

Richard Hannon runs both Chindit and Etonian, with Sir Bucker, ridden by Hollie Doyle, completing the field.

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