Unbeaten colt among top quality entries for £350,000 Newbury Group 1 showpiece

Unbeaten champion miler Baaeed will begin his four-year-old campaign in the £350,000 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday May 14. The Shadwell-owned colt will head straight to the Group 1 showpiece without a warm-up race when he will try to build on a perfect 2021 season in which he won six-out-of-six, culminating in victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.


Trained by William Haggas, Baaeed is one of the star names among 18 quality entries for the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, the first Group 1 race for older horses to be staged in Britain. The race has also attracted last year’s 1,000 Guineas winner Mother Earth from the Aidan O’Brien stable, Alcohol Free, winner of both the Coronation and Sussex Stakes for Andrew Balding, and the Joseph O’Brien-trained State Of Rest, who captured Australia’s signature weight-for-age contest, the Cox Plate in 2021.


There are two entries from France, both trained by Francis Graffard who has nominated The Revenant, the 2020 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner who finished fourth behind Baaeed at Ascot last year, and the Group 3 winner, Dilawar.


Haggas said: “Baaeed hasn’t started fast work yet but he’s doing well. He’s had a good winter and he’s done lots of conditioning work. He’ll go straight to Newbury. There’s not a chance of him running anywhere first.


“The plan would be to go to Newbury and then Royal Ascot and then see where we are. I think the interesting thing then is when, if ever, are we going to go up in trip with him. He’s a brother to Hukum and bred to get further, but while he’s so good at a mile there’s no need to.”


Unraced as a two-year-old, Baaeed made his debut in June last year and raced exclusively at a mile, climbing the ranks to finish the season with two Group 1 victories, in the Prix du Moulin and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in which he defeated Palace Pier and Lady Bowthorpe, the one-two in last year’s Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, at Ascot.


Haggas said: “There was an element of relief when he won the QEII. We hoped that he was up to it and he proved that he was, but I still don’t believe he needs that ground, which was pretty soft in my book. He’s got some good form on that ground, but if the ground at Newbury came up quick it wouldn’t bother me at all. It will be fine for him, I’m sure.”


He continued: “Baaeed didn’t start racing until last June, and after just six runs we all hope that there’s more to come. You can never be sure, and it’s possible he won’t be as good, but all of the signs are suggesting he might be just as good at four, if not better, so we have to hope that’s the case.


“Physically we are very pleased with him, and Hukum, who stays well, has improved as he’s got older.”

Haggas has also entered Aldaary, who completed a QIPCO Champions Day double for the stable when justifying favouritism in the Balmoral Handicap little more than an hour after Baaeed had won the QEII.


He said: “Aldaary has never run in a stakes race yet, but he’s a good horse on heavy ground, and a straight track suits him very well. He got that at Ascot, where he goes very well, and there’s no reason Newbury wouldn’t suit him just as well. Just occasionally it’s been very soft for the Lockinge, and if that’s the case Aldaary will be in there pitching too.”


Entries for the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes