Jim Crowley aiming to control the pressure of riding Baaeed in final race at Ascot

Jockey Jim Crowley admits he has felt a little bit of pressure riding Baaeed as he continued his unbeaten run to the Qipco Champion Stakes on Saturday.

The curtain is set to come down on the racing career of the unbeaten colt at Ascot and Crowley is the man fortunate enough to have had the best seat in the house on eight of the 10 times Baaeed has competed.

As one of the elder statesmen of the weighing room, Crowley will simply try to enjoy the horse that means everything to him for one final time in his Ascot swansong.

"Have I felt pressure riding him? A little bit yes, as the unbeaten run grew," explained Crowley.

"But then again, the more I rode him, I've learned and know what I've got underneath me. My job is to just try to put him in the right place in a race.

"I've got to just take it all in, as I know I won't be riding him again. And there will be more excitement than pressure, I definitely won't need the alarm clock that morning!

"Riding Baaeed has given me a huge thrill. I mean, it's what every jockey strives for, to find a horse like this. And I think they probably come along once every 10 years, if you're lucky, and to see one, let alone ride one, I feel very fortunate.

"He's everything to me, I adore him. Hopefully we're not finished yet."

Shadwell's retained jockey has the right to call the William Haggas-trained superstar one of the best horses ever seen and an operator that made an immediate impression on the jockey when the duo linked up for the very first time.

"The first time I rode Baaeed was in the Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at Newmarket," Crowley told his Coral blog.

"I didn't know too much about him other than he'd won his first two starts, but that day, I was blown away by him. He gave me the feel of a very good horse, he put the race to bed very easily, and I had a job to pull him up after the winning line. I knew then we had something quite special."

Baaeed would go on to win a further three times during his three-year-old campaign, first striking at Glorious Goodwood, before adding the first two victories in a run of six-straight Group One outings that would follow. It was during these appearances that Baaeed advertised to Crowley he was the full package.

He continued: "He took the field apart (at Goodwood) and showed so much more speed than his pedigree would have suggested, I really couldn't believe the pace he was showing.

"Taking him to France (for the Prix du Moulin) also proved what a great temperament he has. I think that's one of his key attributes, he's so laid back, he just seems to take everything in his stride.

"He ended that season in the QEII, and a big showdown with Palace Pier and several other top-class milers. I think the Palace Pier camp thought they couldn't get beat, but my fellow toughed it out really well, it was a proper ding-dong battle, and the best horse won.

"I was delighted when we knew he was staying in training as a four-year-old, because I knew we hadn't seen the best of him."

Baaeed's star continued to shine brightly during the current campaign and he sealed his superstar status when stepping up to 10 furlongs with aplomb to destroy a quality line-up in the Juddmonte International at York.

"He was kept to a mile in the Lockinge, Queen Anne and Sussex Stakes, and while we thought he would improve for a step up in trip, it was difficult to do that when he was taking the opposition apart so easily over a mile and showing so much speed," said Crowley.

"I'm probably the only one who really knows how good he is. You know, obviously riding in these big races, you get a feel of what's left in the tank. And I knew after all those races I'd ridden in him so far, we hadn't scratched the surface yet.

"Some horses have better records on their CVs, but I think it would have taken a very, very special horse to have beaten Mishriff at York like Baaeed did, he was just imperious that day."

Baaeed's sire Sea The Stars ended his own stellar career by landing the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and although a step up to a mile and a half was briefly considered by connections, the decision was made to swerve a trip to Paris and bring business to a close on home soil, incidentally in the same contest Frankel stormed to success in on his final start 10 years ago.

"His sire, Sea the Stars, was an exceptional horse. Whether he had the same speed as Baaeed, I don't know. Obviously, Frankel was an exceptional horse as well," said Crowley.

"Who was the best? It's something that we'll never know. The ratings may say otherwise, but we'll never know. But he has to be right up there with those horses."

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