Bay Bridge looked a star in the making with a brilliant performance in the Coral Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown Park.
A fine 2021 had seen Sir Michael Stoute’s charge unbeaten in four outings, culminating in a Listed victory at Newmarket in October having started the campaign in a novice event before moving to handicap company.
A 7-4 chance for his first Pattern-race assignment, Ryan Moore gave the four-year-old New Bay colt a patient ride as Addeybb took them along.
Mostahdaf (6-5 favourite) loomed looking to be going particularly sweetly three out – but just as soon as he took over Moore had the move covered and it was effectively all over once Bay Bridge was given the office a furlong from home.
He simply swept clear, accounting for Mostahdaf by five lengths to give Stoute – who has the favourite for the Derby in Desert Crown – a 12th success in the Group Three contest. In the process his odds for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot halved to 5-1 with Paddy Power, and to 4-1 for the Hardwicke Stakes.
James Wigan, who owns the winner in company with Ballylinch Stud, said: “He is such a big, strong boy that we rather thought in the paddock that he might need the race, so we are particularly pleased.
“We have always thought a lot of him and Sir Michael’s been very complimentary about him, so it is a very nice surprise.
“I think everybody is pleased with that. Until they run, you don’t know (how fit they are).
“He is in the Prince of Wales’s and the Hardwicke. We will ask Sir Michael what he thinks, but I think we will will probably be inclined to stick to a mile and a quarter at the moment. I think we would have thought he would go to Group One level, and he has won a Group Three with some good horses in the race today.
“Ryan said he did it well and showed a good turn of foot. He didn’t have to get too serious with him and he is a very exciting prospect.
“What excited me was the way he quickened away from good horses. He was sitting there going easily and you could see Ryan did not want to expose him too early and he was keeping him in. There was obviously something in the tank and he didn’t know what.”
He added: “We thought there was something special in him last year and Ballylinch bought into him in the winter. It is very nice for them too. You feel a bit guilty if you sell a half share in a horse and it doesn’t work.
“I would have thought on the dam’s side a mile and a half would be within reach. Wait for the trainer – he knows about these things.”
Moore said: “He picked up very nicely and went through the line well. He has won five on the spin now and seems to have stepped forward every time.
“You would be hopeful he would carry on doing that. I’m very happy with him. He is entitled to (go up to Group One company) as he has beaten some very solid horses there. Hopefully there is plenty to look forward to.
“He had a few issues last year, nothing major, he just had to wait but he has improved with every run.”