Shadwell star Baaeed stretched his unbeaten run to nine races with a comfortable victory over Godolphin’s Modern Games in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at the Goodwood Festival on Wednesday.
Jim Crowley had him covered behind five horses before unleashing him past the two-furlong mark to cross the finishing line a length and three-quarter in front of Modern Games.
Alcohol Free, last year’s winner, was a further length and three-quarter back in third in the seven-runner race run over the mile trip.
The William Haggas-trained four-year-old Sea The Stars colt, currently the highest-rated (128) horse on the planet, sealed his fifth Group 1 prize.
Baaeed’s successes so far has been over the mile trip and his next stop is likely to be the Group 1 Juddmonte International at York on August 17, a race that will see the best horse in the world stepping up to 1m2½f for the first time.
“He just does what he has to like his sire [Sea The Stars] did,” Crowley, who has been in the saddle in seven of his nine starts, said.
“Just before the winning line he flicked his ears and completely shut down with me. It's a pleasure to be part of the journey.
“He's never going to be exuberant and win by ten lengths but the feeling I got from him between the three and the two [furlongs], no horse can give you that sort of feel. He's got everything. Good horses like that tick all the boxes.
“It will be really interesting when he goes a mile and a quarter next time and I'm really looking forward to it.”
Haggas pointed firmly to York and the International next, with a trip to Ascot on British Champions Day beyond that likely to be the last start of Baaeed's exceptional career.
“He's got speed and he's got class and I'm really looking forward to it [stepping up in trip], and I think he'll enjoy it,” the winning trainer said.
“We've got him for two more races so let's make the most of him and enjoy him, because he's very likely to go to stud at the end of this year. That will be it and then and I'll spend the rest of my training career trying to find the next one.”
Modern Games, winner of the French 2000 Guineas and placed in the French Derby this season, delighted the connections with his effort.
“That was a great run,” his jockey William Buick said. “We were racing for second and that's where he finished. It was nice for him to come back to that form. The winner is an exceptional horse.”