Baaeed made the perfect start to his highly-anticipated four-year-old campaign with an emphatic victory in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
William Haggas’ superstar made effortless progress last term, going unbeaten in six runs and graduating from winning a Leicester maiden in June to winning back-to-back Group Ones in September and October.
The Sea The Stars colt was a hot favourite to extend his winning streak to seven and the 4-9 market leader made short work of eight rivals in the mile showpiece.
Chindit set out to make all, giving jockey Jim Crowley the opportunity to settle in behind and he could be called the winner some way from home as his rider started to move up the gears and Baaeed lengthened away.
To his credit, Real World tried to make a battle of it in second and ran a fine race in his own right, but he was no match for the three-and-a-quarter-length winner, with Chindit staying on gamely for third, a further length and three-quarters back.
Crowley said: “He is an absolute pleasure to ride and very straightforward. He is the most beautifully-bred horse. He is everything you want in a racehorse. Nothing seems to faze him.
“he doesn’t appear to have any weaknesses. I can’t think of one. He is really bright, has gears, relaxes and stays the mile extremely well and has got a turn of foot. You couldn’t ask for more really.
“I have sat last on him at Goodwood and he has got a very good turn of foot, so it is not like you have to be in a certain place in a race – just where he is happy, really.
“Mohaather, who won the Sussex Stakes, was very underestimated. What he did that day was exceptional. This horse looks like he could be the best (I’ve ridden).
“It was very straightforward. Everything went smoothly – it was like clockwork. There was not a lot of pace in the race, but he has such a turn of foot, but if they had gone quicker, it probably would have helped him.”
On stepping up in trip at some point, Crowley added: “You would imagine the Juddmonte (International) would be tailor-made for him.”
A rather relieved Haggas said: “I have to say I have never been more nervous before a race than I was today. There was a bit of pressure, because all you fellows keep writing nice things about him. But he did it nicely today.
“I would not go as far as to say he is the best horse in the world – that is the sort of thing others might say – but he has done very well. It was a strongish field, there was a Classic winner in there and two fillies who were very useful last year, so he has done really well.
“If we step up to a mile and a quarter, if he stays fit and healthy, we will go for the Juddmonte.”
He added: “Even better news is that my wife sadly can’t be here today, because she is in Dubai and our daughter’s waters have just broken, so we could be grandparents again in the very near future – which is much more important!”
Unsurprisingly connections of the placed horses are plotting a Group One course to avoid the winner.
Real World’s trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “He’s run a big race back on turf and jumped well from the stalls, having missed the break last time. There is no disgrace finishing second to the best horse in the country and Europe, if not the world.
“If Baaeed’s going for the Queen Anne, Real World would go for the Prince of Wales’s.”
Richard Hannon, trainer of third-placed Chindit, said: “We had a point to prove and he’s proved it behind an exceptional winner, who obviously we will avoid in future.
“We wanted to ride him prominently up with the pace and Pat (Dobbs) said he quickened lovely when he asked.”