Glorious Goodwood the Fitting Stage for the Return of Europe’s Finest Baaeed

Glorious Goodwood
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Glorious Goodwood the Fitting Stage for the Return of Europe’s Finest Baaeed

With five days of top-tier horse racing at one of the most picturesque courses on the planet, it’s little wonder that even those with a mere passing interest in the sport are anticipating Glorious Goodwood with relish.

The festival will run from Tuesday, July 26 through to Saturday, July 30, with a stack of Group One races on the card and total prize money not far shy of £5 million to be won in the heart of the Sussex countryside.

Aside from the star-spotting and VIP hospitality, there are some rather intriguing battles to look forward to out on the track – not least the return of Baaeed in the Sussex Stakes.

William Haggas’ four-year-old remains unbeaten in eight starts, and he will be looking to finish a season in which his rating has hit a high of 125 with victory at Goodwood later this month.

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In the Paddy Power racing odds, Baaeed is considered a 4/11 shot to extend his winning run in the Sussex Stakes, with that price indicative of his dominance up and down the land this season.

But the Goodwood odds also confirm that the one-mile race will feature a high-quality supporting cast, with the likes of Coroebus (7/2) and Real World (10/1) gaining some traction in the betting market.

However, the suggestion is that Baaeed, who has been crowned Europe’s finest horse on the flat with a Timeform rating of 134, could run away with the Sussex Stakes unless something drastically goes wrong on the day.

So can anybody stop this runaway train in his tracks?

Praying for Rain

When you choose to enter your horse in a race directly against powerhouses like Baaeed, you’re looking for any crumb of positivity you can find.

And so it was interesting to note that Haggas claimed he was “not overwhelmed” by his prized asset’s efforts in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot just a few weeks ago – despite the fact that Baaeed triumphed by the best part of two lengths from Real World.

The proximity with which the 15/2 underdog finished to Baaeed that day will perhaps offer some encouragement to the rest of the field in the Sussex Stakes, and connections may be best served to pray for rain – the closest the Shadwell Estate star has come to being defeated was on good-to-soft ground in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes last October.

While Coroebus and Real World don’t really have any pedigree on softer ground, one Sussex Stakes entry that does is Aldaary – ironically another horse from the Haggas-Shadwell Estate conveyor belt of talent.

Whether they would be inclined to pitch their duo against one another at Goodwood remains to be seen, but Aldaary has won the Spring Trophy on soft ground and the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on good-to-soft, so a bit of rain will suit him perfectly… albeit less so stablemate Baaeed.

The long-range weather forecast for Goodwood is resounding – sunny spells and hot temperatures are expected, although the possibility of showers has been given for the days leading up to the festival.

Will that be enough for Aldaary to bring an end to Baaeed’s unbeaten run?

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