‘It’s a Privilege to Have a Horse Like Baaeed’

Speaking in the TDN’s Conversations series last month, Shadwell’s racing manager Angus Gold reiterated the fortuitous appearance of Baaeed (GB) on the global stage so soon after the sad death of his breeder Sheikh Hamdam Al Maktoum.

“I don’t think it could be overstated how important Baaeed coming along, and the timing of it, was,” Gold told Brian Sheerin.

Baaeed’s significance as a racehorse was exemplified by his recent ratification as the top-rated turf horse in the world in 2022, his mark of 135 making him the clear leader among the offspring of his sire Sea The Stars (Ire), ahead even of the former Horse of the Year Crystal Ocean (GB), who shared that accolade with Enable (GB) and Waldgeist (GB) in 2019 on a rating of 128. But when a colt retires to stud, the slate is in a sense wiped clean and he has it all to prove once more.

Baaeed will not be without support in this regard, however. It is perhaps no surprise to hear Will Wright, Shadwell’s UK nominations and European marketing manager, say, “He has gone down exceptionally well.”

Since late November, breeders have been inspecting him, first at Beech House Stud during the December Sales, and later at his new base at Nunnery Stud’s stallion unit, which was once home to his relations Nashwan, Unfuwain, and Nayef, with the latter still in residence in retirement. 

“It’s a privilege to have a horse like Baaeed,” Wright continues. “From a Shadwell perspective, it has obviously been a wonderful journey right from moment one and his win at Leicester, and all the way through. All that excitement is now transferred to the Nunnery. Everyone here has got that buzz. To have a horse who was as good as him, bred in the Shadwell blue, and who traces all the way back to Height Of Fashion, it’s a credit to Sheikh Hamdan and his family for all that work that he put in.”

Baaeed’s dam, the French listed winner Aghareed (Kingmambo), had quite the year in 2022, and it was Baaeed’s full-brother Hukum (GB) who who got the ball rolling for the 14-year-old mare with his victory last March in the G2 Dubai City of Gold at Meydan, a win naturally enjoyed by his owner Sheikha Hissa on her home turf. Hukum, now six, backed that up with his first Group 1 success in the Coronation Cup at Epsom, though his winning performance sadly came at a high price as he sustained an injury that kept him sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Baaeed in the meantime was diligently adding to the two Group 1 races he won as a three-year-old by bowling from race to race at four, winning the Lockinge in May, Queen Anne in June, Sussex in July, and then, stepping beyond a mile for the first time, adding the coveted Juddmonte International to his record at his trainer William Haggas’s beloved York in August. As history relates, Baaeed’s perfect ten remained just that, and he was defeated for the first time in his eleventh and final race on Ascot’s Champions Day, where the previous year he had beaten Palace Pier (GB) in a thrilling renewal of the Queen Elizabeth II S.

That transpired to be the final occasion on which the late Queen attended her racecourse, making Baaeed, with his roots firmly in the royal broodmare band, a fitting winner of the race named in her honour. That same day, Shadwell’s homebred filly Eshaada (GB) won the QIPCO British Champion Fillies & Mares S., and for her first cover this season the daughter of Muhaarar (GB) will be among Baaeed’s smart first book, as will the dual Group 1 winner Nazeef (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}).

The hallmark of Baaeed’s racing career, along with his obvious athletic talent, was his apparently rock-solid temperament, a facet of his nature which was referred to regularly by his jockey Jim Crowley. The buzz of the big days didn’t bother him, and this laidback attitude has continued as Baaeed settles in to his new Norfolk home. 

“When he first came in we were actually a little worried that he was too relaxed, but that’s just him,” Wright notes. “His temperament is something else and that’s a sign of him being the complete package: the ability to listen to the handler, to the rider, and that has helped him settle in. He’s not fussed over at all. He’s just a relaxed horse and that makes everyone’s life a lot easier.”

He adds, “We had our parade during the December Sales and my phone has not stopped ringing. Stephen Collins’s phone has not stopped ringing. We had nominations being applied for from before he retired. It has to be a careful selection, and it’s been incredibly difficult, but we’ve got an exceptional book of mares, and breeders that have seen him have not been disappointed.”

Baaeed may come with an obvious wow factor but he will still have to earn his laurels in the stallion yard along with his three fellow young residents. Farthest ahead in this regard is Tasleet (GB). One of two sons of Showcasing (GB) on the roster, he made an encouraging start with his first juveniles last season. Leading the pack was Bradsell (GB), winner of the G2 Coventry S. for Archie Watson and Bahrain-based Victorious Racing.

“We were gutted when [Bradsell] picked up a setback that knocked him out for the rest of the year. In the Coventry he defeated Blackbeard, Persian Force, Royal Scotsman, and did it in fine style. That shows us the mark of [Tasleet’s] ability as a sire and that was recognised last year as he covered his biggest and best book yet. If they can replicate anywhere near what his two-year-olds did last year with the quantity that’s going to be on the track, he’ll be an incredibly hot prospect.”

Waiting in the wings with his first runners for the coming season is the imposing homebred Eqtidaar (Ire), winner of the G1 Commonwealth Cup and an Invincible Spirit (Ire) half-brother to the 2,000 Guineas runner-up Massaat (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}).

“He’s the sort of horse who I think is flying under the radar but we could be telling a different story come May if he has a few early runners, and we’ve been hearing good things from from buyers and trainers alike,” says Wright.

Then there’s Mohaather (GB), another son of Showcasing bred by Gaie Johnson Houghton from her classy family which includes the G1 Queen Anne S. winner Accidental Agent (GB) (Delegator {GB}). His first foals caught the eye of many a good judge last November and that commercial popularity looks sure to carry through with the sleek dark brown Mohaather’s first yearlings. 

“He was an incredibly talented racehorse. His Sussex Stakes win, when he defeated Circus Maximus, Kameko and Siskin, wasn’t his only his day in the sun. He was a  group winner at two, three and four, winning the Horris Hillß at two, and the Greenham at three,” says Wright.

“The foal prices during the sales reached 110,000gns and we supported him ourselves. People are coming to him in the third year off the back of that.” 

Baaeed is not the only newcomer at Nunnery Stud as Will Wright only joined the Shadwell team last October, taking over the role of Tom Pennington.

“I have to pinch myself joining at this time,” he admits. “To have a horse like Baaeed on your doorstep along with an exceptionally exciting roster of stallions, you really can’t ask for much more.”

If you missed seeing the Shadwell stallions in November but are in Newmarket for this week’s February Sale, Eqtidaar, Mohaather and Tasleet will all be available for viewing at Shadwell’s Beech House Stud, close to Tattersalls, on Thursday and Friday from 10am to 3pm.

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