Baaeed takes world's highest-rated turf horse crown

Multiple Group 1 winner Baaeed has scooped the world's highest-rated turf horse crown at the the 2022 Longines World's Best Racehorse Awards in London.

The William Haggas-trained superstar also finished second to the imperious Flightline in the overall standings and was handed a rating of 135 which is just 5lb shy of the 140 handed to Frankel in 2012, which makes Baaeed the best turf horse to set foot on a racecourse since Sir Henry Cecil's unbeaten colt.

Although suffering his only defeat in his final racecourse appearance on Qipco British Champions Day, Baaeed captured the imagination by going unbeaten in his first 10 starts.

Having taken the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on his final start at three, it was Group One action all the way at four and having outlined his credentials to be the standout miler of his generation was tasked with proving so in the Queen Anne Stakes which kicked off Royal Ascot.

"I think before Ascot I was at my most nervous because it is the first race of such a prestigious meeting for us," explained Haggas when asked about the experience of stewarding such a talent throughout his career.

"He was about 1/6 and everyone expected him to win and things can happen in horse racing."

He continued: "Fortunately he did win and we've had a wonderful journey, much like the owners and trainer of Flightline - but we've had our own journey and it has been fantastic.

"I wish I could guarantee it would be repeated but I doubt it will."

Baaeed received his rating of 135 after his performance in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York where the son of Sea The Stars replicated both his sire and Frankel by taking the 10-furlong event in style.

The man in the saddle that day and for the majority of Baaeed's career was Jim Crowley, who went on to describe the feeling he got when sauntering to success on the Knavesmire.

He said: "It was an experience like I've never experienced before, it was like everything happened in slow motion.

"He was just a pleasure to ride, there was never a moment's worry. When I could go between horses and just keep taking a pull and all season I had never really let the handbrake off. I always knew it was there so when I finally did let go, it was a great feeling.

"Just to hear the crowd clapping was unusual. Normally they cheer, but it was just applause and appreciation."

A Shadwell homebred, Baaeed will now stand as a stallion at the operation's Nunnery Stud and Richard Hills - a key member of the Shadwell team and closely associated with the horse's preparations - looked back at his achievements with pride, while also highlighting the comfortable Queen Anne victory as the moment Baaeed fever really began to build.

"The most important thing for us was Royal Ascot," said Hills. "Sheikha Hissa had never been to Royal Ascot before and we were the first race and nervous.

"Angus (Gold, racing manager) and I weren't sure whether she should come down to the paddock and of course Baaeed, Jim and William did their stuff. Sheikha Hissa then got to lead the horse in which lifted us all and her.

"The journey started from there all the way through to York. We were very proud of him."

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