Bay Bridge grinds out QIPCO Champion Stakes success as Baaeed loses unbeaten record
Bay Bridge (10/1) gave trainer Sir Michael Stoute his first winner on QIPCO British Champions Day with a game success under Richard Kingscote in the feature G1 QIPCO Champion Stakes.
The £1.3m contest was meant to be a coronation for the world’s top-rated turf horse Baaeed but the 1/4 favourite couldn’t pick up in the ground and ultimately finished fourth on his final career start.
In contrast, Bay Bridge was ideally placed to challenge off the home turn and relished conditions to see off last year’s Derby winner Adayar by half a length. My Prospero stayed on well to take third, a further nose behind.
Stoute said: “Bay Bridge was very brave. I am absolutely thrilled. The staff have done a great job with this horse, and we are all delighted.
“He was in very good shape coming here – he came back from Sandown with a knock and we had to back off him, so he’s been very consistent this year with the exception of that race.
“We thought the favourite was unbeatable – or I did – but I thought he had a great chance of being second, because he was in terrific shape.”
Asked how it feels to have beaten Baaeed, trained by Stoute’s great friend William Haggas, he replied: “I hope we are still friends!
“I’m delighted to have won two Group One races this year. The staff have been brilliant and it’s down to them.”
Kingscote said: “It is surreal really. I guess we came here knowing we have a nice horse but we were taking on one of the best around. You cannot be afraid of one horse.
“This is perfect to ride beautiful horses like this. They’ve always liked Bay Bridge back home. He looked like he would have a big one in him and, on that ground, he showed he is a really lovely animal.
“He was a bit fresh and ran with enthusiasm the first three-quarters. He was going so well into the turn when the others tried to put a bit of pace into it, but he responded and knuckled down when William [Buick] came to us on Adayar. He put in a very good effort.”
Stoute and Kingscote combined to win the Cazoo Derby with Desert Crown earlier this year and the rider added: “I am very grateful to everyone for having me – two spectacular horses have made it a great year.”
Adayar’s trainer Charlie Appleby said: “I am delighted. We know he’s back on the top table again. It is always in the back of your mind when you’ve won a conditions race, but he is where he was when he left off last year. There were no excuses there. William said they didn’t go quite as strong a gallop as you would like, but he committed when he did – that was always the plan and he stuck to his guns well. We were beaten by a horse that we know has always had plenty of potential there and has been waiting for the ground.”
William Haggas said of Baaeed: “It is deflating, but he is still a good horse. I’m sad he didn’t win for him and his connections, as well as all the people at the yard who have worked tirelessly to get him there. There you go, it’s horse racing.
“Jim [Crowley] felt Baaeed just couldn’t pick up in the ground. I don’t know, I need to watch it again. All I know is he didn’t win. I was busy watching the others as well. I tend not to make an assessment straight after.
“Let’s hope this is eradicated from people’s minds quite quickly. No disrespect to the others. I am thrilled for Sir Michael and we have a few horses with James and Anita Wigan [winning part-owners].
“My Prospero couldn’t quite nut Adayar on the line for second, so it looks like we’ll have to wait next year until we have a go at the Trainers’ Championship. My Prospero ran a magnificent race and has lots to look forward to. He is a beautiful horse, a great big horse. I think he has a good future.
“Dubai Honour ran well, but James [Doyle] said they went no gallop for him. He felt he wanted a mile and a half now. I’m not sure, but he’s had a little bit of a miss next year and hopefully he can have a nice season next year, maybe just below Group One level.”
Crowley said: “The ground, simple as that. I turned into the straight and normally where he would pick up, normally he would be able to do it on good to soft, that kick just wasn’t there. It was heavy weather really.
“As soon as I went for him [I knew I was in trouble]. In the past, it has just been instant. It just wasn’t there, simple as that. I pressed the button today and it wasn’t there.
“It is unbelievable the journey we have been on. He is a very special horse and it is sad that he does not finish his career unbeaten as we have come so far. For me today, it was just sad as that kick I know he has wasn’t there.
“Baaeed has captured the imagination and I’m sorry we couldn’t do it today. He is a special horse still.”
FURTHER REACTION FROM WILLIAM HAGGAS ON BAAEED
Haggas said: “When they don’t win, it is usually because they haven’t run fast enough. I know it sounds basic, but it wasn’t Baaeed’s day today. I am sad for everyone at home and connections.
“That is horse racing. He has been a great horse for us and will have a great career at stud, I hope. He is magnificent. I’m just sorry he didn’t come out with a great big crowd on a happy day with a bang, but that is the way it is.
“He has brought untold joy. He is a marvellous horse and a great character. Everyone has loved the journey, obviously my family, but my staff who are so important to the operation. They will be really sad, but they shouldn’t be sad as we have been privileged to have him. He is a belter of a horse and I’m just sorry he didn’t show everyone here his best form today. It’s no-one’s fault and that is horse racing. There are lots worse things going in the world to worry about apart from a few horses going round a field.”
4.00pm QIPCO Champion Stakes (Group 1)
1 Bay Bridge (James Wigan & Ballylinch Stud) Sir Michael Stoute 4-9-07 Richard Kingscote 10/1
2 Adayar (Godolphin) Charlie Appleby 4-9-07 Jim Crowley 6/1
3 My Prospero (Sunderland Holding Inc) William Haggas 3-9-03 Tom Marquand 3-9-03 22/1
9 ran 1/4F Baaeed (4th)
Sir Michael Stoute – 1st winner on QIPCO British Champions Day
Richard Kingscote – 1st winner on QIPCO British Champions Day