Baaeed – The Big Debate

August 26th, 2022 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Hi there!

I’m not sure how the Racing Post would be filling its pages at the moment were it not for the existence of Baaeed.

He is an exceptionally talented horse but I think to compare him to other great horses of the past is spurious or, at the very least, pointless.

For a start, regarding the comparison with Frankel, that horse ended his career rated on 140 while Baaeed was on 128, raised this week to 135 following his victory in the Juddmonte, so he still has a couple of pounds to find – something that is, I would say, quite probable.

Also Frankel ran away with the 2000 Guineas, winning by six lengths, while Baaeed never ran in a Classic.

I am not a strict weights and measures man, as you’re aware, but for me the mark of greatness in a racehorse is if he or she can show form of the highest class over the three Classic trips – a mile, a mile and a half and a mile and three-quarters. In three words, the Triple Crown.

There have, I believe, been 15 colts to have won the Triple Crown since West Australian in 1853, the most recent being Nijinsky in 1970. The last filly to have won the equivalent – the 1000 Guineas, Oaks and St Leger – was Oh So Sharp in 1985.

Frankel never ran beyond the extended 1m 2f of the Juddmonte, which he won by seven lengths, and he never raced below seven furlongs. Baaeed’s races have been confined to a mile until last week, when he stepped up to the extended ten furlongs at York.

Regarding his career at stud, his future is assured given his form over a mile – the most favoured distance of a stallion by breeders – with little added benefit to come were he to win over a mile and a half. Of course there is the exception to that, as with the case of Derby winner Galileo, but the most commercially successful stallions have shown their top form at a mile to ten furlongs.

Furthermore, the trainer and owner seemed adamant after last week’s triumph that the colt’s final race would be the Champion Stakes and the only thing that has happened since then has been the call from some members of the Press andthe public to see him take his chance in the Arc.

I cannot believe a trainer who gives as much thought to the game as William Haggas, and his hugely experienced team, would be swayed by such a cry. And yet it seems as if he may now be considering it, although owner Sheikha Hissa appeared to be set on Ascot when last approached about the colt’s future.

The only bookmaker offering a price is Paddy Power – 4/5 with a run from 5/4 a few days ago. On Betfair, all in, you can get 8.2 to a few pounds, with just modest sums waiting to back him at 15.

In my opinion Baaeed should not be asked to tackle the mile and a half of the Arc.

This is not on the grounds of possible stamina limitations – his full brother Hukum has won over 1m 6f at Group level and the Group 1 Coronation Cup at a mile and a half – but more the nature of the race.

The Arc is one of the most gruelling races in the European calendar, with no quarter given by the local riders, and although Baaeed seems to be an uncomplicated ride with a great temperament, connections would probably want to hold him up for a late burst and he is not sure to enjoy a smooth run through.

The biggest field Baaeed has raced in comprised of 14 runners, and that was on his debut in a Leicester maiden. Since then he has run against nine rivals, on the straight mile at Royal Ascot, and on his second start at Newmarket, and the rest of the time six or fewer.

The rough and tumble of a big field around the turns at Longchamp, against some of the best horses in Europe, puts at risk a flawless record for little gain commercially. Furthermore nobody knows how the ground will ride. It can be very soft in Paris.

It would, in the vernacular of Sir Humphrey, be a ‘courageous’ decision to run at Longchamp.

Moving on from the sublime to the rather less sublime, I have started work on the Dark Horses Jumps Booklet which we hope to have out by the end of September. This will feature my Premier List of horses and a motley array of handicap projects, imports and perhaps the odd point-to-pointer.

I am pleased with the way the new Market Insights is working out. This again guided the way to a few winners over the weekend, with my suggested trading option on an all-weather race at Lingfield paying off nicely.

Bye for now