THE indomitable Baaeed (121+) took another step towards greatness at Goodwood with another cosy Group 1 victory, this time in the Sussex Stakes where he comprehensively accounted for Godolphin’s Modern Games.
The overall time was slower than would be expected for a top-level contest with the pace not lifting until the final half mile, however rider Jim Crowley was happy to take a view of his rivals early on, knowing full well his partner possessed the fastest finishing speed.
After easing to the outside at the cutaway, the son of Sea The Stars posted a 10.70sec seventh furlong, followed by a final furlong of 11.31secs to stamp his seal on the race. A complete closing three-furlong sectional of 33.21secs was achieved without being fully extended as once again the unbeaten colt only delivered the finishing speed required to win the race. A point which Crowley confirmed in his post-race interview when saying he felt the need to remind him there was a race to be won when he hit the front. The sectional was the fastest of the day on the round course.
Trainer William Haggas confirmed the Juddmonte International Stakes as the next target for his unbeaten colt where he will hopefully clash with last year’s winner Mishriff and Native Trail, who would represent the Coral-Eclipse form.
As Baaeed has such a relaxed style of racing the extra two furlongs will be no barrier to success and I fully expect him to make it a perfect 10 on the Knavesmire, although the challenge of new opposition may require a succession of the sub 11sec furlongs he has showed in glimpses this season in winning his three races to date.
The four-year-old also holds an entry in the Champion Stakes at Leopardstown where a meeting with Vadeni could be in the offing so there may yet be sterner challenges ahead for the highest rated horse in the world.
Modern Games (119), added to the event in place of the injured Coroebus, enjoyed the run of the race and possibly penned Alcohol Free in at a vital stage, although the closing sectionals show the Godolphin runner closed faster from the three-furlong marker. The relevant data was his 33.79secs versus the filly’s 33.83secs and a return trip to the Breeders’ Cup looks on the cards for the son of Dubawi.
Although Alcohol Free (116+) eventually ran on strongly to finish third, she took time to gather full stride whereby she found extra speed quicker in the July Cup when travelling at a faster pace.
The daughter of No Nay Never will be high on my shortlist for Group 1 honours when reverting to six furlongs.
Angel Bleu (114) caught the eye late in the race, clocking a faster closing sectional than either Modern Games or Alcohol Free. Most notably, Ralph Beckett’s colt clocked 11.11secs for his final furlong as he covered the ground from the three-furlong marker in 33.69secs. The son of Dark Angel will also be more effective on softer ground if returning to the track; unfortunately he was reported to be lame post-race.
OSCULA (100) returned to the track after 4-days to win the Group Three for fillies and mares, although as the overall time was matched by 82-rated Lyndon B (100) in the day’s concluding handicap it may not pay to follow the form in future pattern races. Although I would add Lyndon B also posted a closing sectional way above his rating, stopping the clock at 33.74secs for the final three furlongs which was just 0.53secs slower than Baaeed. It will be interesting to see whether John Flint’s six-year-old can repeat the feat.
George Boughey’s filly posted a closing sectional of 35.08secs, which was eclipsed by both Internationalangel (100) and Samahram (98+) who clocked 35.05secs and 34.82secs respectively.
If either find themselves dropping in grade to a listed contest they would be of interest with the former likely to be seen to better effect if ridden with more restraint and the latter when stepping back up in trip.
The juvenile course record was broken twice during the afternoon as first Trillium and then The Platinum Queen took full advantage of the quick ground to announce themselves as potential Group 1 contenders.
Pat Dobbs produced Trillium (106+) between horses from the rear of the field to deny Rocket Rodney in the Molecomb Stakes, posting a closing sectional of 32.70secs in the process.
Conversely, The Platinum Queen (108+) made every yard of the running in the conditions stakes, stopping the clock for her sectional at 32.92secs on her way to posting a slightly faster time figure.
A comparison of the final furlong splits adds further substance to the front-running performance of Richard Fahey’s filly as her 11.61secs was faster than Trillium who covered the same ground in 11.72secs. On this evidence the daughter of Cotai Glory finished with more to offer and she is thriving on the front-running tactics employed on each of her last two outings.
Richard Hannon’s Molecomb winner looks likely to step up in trip to six furlongs and holds an entry in the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes, while The Platinum Queen looks an out-and-out five-furlong filly.
Secret State (109) was the best of the middle-distance handicap winners, proving a length and a quarter too strong for Maksud despite drifting markedly when hitting the front. The Godolphin three-year-old finished his race in 35.08secs, which was slightly faster than State Occasion (100) who stopped the clock for her sectional at 35.28secs when winning the fillies’ handicap.