Richard Ryan: The straight mile at Ascot was the deciding factor for Bayside Boy

It is often said patience is a virtue and so it proved for the connections of Bayside Boy, who were rewarded with success in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day.

The son of New Bay was a high-ranking two-year-old and claimed the scalp of one-time Derby fancy Reach For The Moon in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster before placing in both the Dewhurst and the Vertem Futurity Trophy at the back end of his juvenile season.

However, things did not go to plan in the early stages of his Classic year and having wasted the ferry fare when drawn out in the car park for the French 2000 Guineas on reappearance, he failed to land a blow on unfavourable fast ground at both Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood.

Having sat out August, the Teme Valley and Ballylinch Stud-owned colt returned to the winner's enclosure when dropped back to Listed level at Sandown and then struck again while the iron was hot at Ascot, completing connections' end-of-season plan to perfection.

It appears Bayside Boy's success is a full team effort, with Roger Varian keen to praise the patience and input of the owners throughout the season in the aftermath of their Ascot triumph, and Richard Ryan, racing manager for Teme Valley, was in no doubt their charge had a big race in him granted optimum conditions.

He said: "We were probably slightly guided by some impressive work in the spring and summer on the watered gallop in Newmarket, which wasn't very soft ground or anything - just watered fast ground.

"It led us to believe he would be very effective on a quicker surface, but under racing pressure at the level he was facing, he just wasn't enjoying it under pressure. So, the bottom line was we had to regroup after Goodwood and wait for conditions that favoured him.

"We were always looking forward to a straight mile as and when we found it and obviously there was a very big and obvious straight mile waiting later in the season on soft ground, as it proved.

"We always had the QEII in the back of our minds and Sandown had to go to plan and it did. We were either going Arc weekend or the QEII and having weighed up the pros and cons, felt that the straight mile at Ascot was the deciding factor."

Bayside Boy's return to form has coincided with the application of blinkers and it appears the headgear has been a hot topic of discussion in recent months.

Ryan continued: "The blinkers were debated, whether they were needed or not. It was more a case of having shown a bit of reticence on a faster surface, Roger just gave him a little bit confidence one day at home in them and my god was he impressive in them.

"They were only put on to say 'don't worry about what's ahead' as opposed to needing them for any attitude issues and it was a big debate whether we needed them or not.

"William (Buick) at Sandown brought him between horses and said 'I can see why you've got them on, but wait and see what the ground is like at Ascot', and he was very keen on going there having got off him which was very pleasing to hear. He was as straight as a gun barrel at Ascot, and we only resorted to the blinkers by virtue of running on ground we probably shouldn't have. The dependency on them is questionable."

As a 'win and you're in' race for the Breeders' Cup, victory in the QEII means Bayside Boy has a paid-up ticket to the States ready and waiting. Whether that invitation is accepted is still up for debate, however, with connections wary of the tight turns of Keeneland and also minded they now have a lucrative stallion prospect in their care.

On where the future lies for Bayside Boy, Ryan added: "He is a hugely commercial horse with stakes two-year-old form and Group One mile speed. It will be a tough decision and we're in the throes of that right now.

"Keeneland is on the table, and it was a win and you're in situation in the QEII where they help subsidise some of the travel.

"However, I know Keeneland very well from my days in Kentucky, as do our partners and the trainer and we are only too aware that it is a very tight bend - as tight as anything you would face over here.

"And a tight bend, even on autumnal ground that isn't totally inclined to mimic European autumnal ground - it's kind of a loose top with firm ground underneath - unless you can blitz from the gates and roll from a prominent and handy position, Keeneland can be quite tricky for a lot of horses as I'm sure will be the case when watching the Breeders' Cup races this year.

"So, although we would love to bounce forwards while he is in this form, it is such a radical difference in conditions, and we are not really inclined to make that kneejerk reaction right now."

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