Matt Chapman tips: Here’s hoping Baaeed can lift the spirits of injured Maureen Haggas – plus top tips on ITV
IF you are reading this Baaeed – do it for Maureen!
York’s devoted fans will go crazy should the world’s best racehorse land next week’s Juddmonte International at York.
And it won’t just be because the crowd have witnessed a worldy. Racing groupies are usually emotional people because it’s a sport that tugs at the heartstrings.
William Haggas, Baaeed’s fantastic trainer, is a Yorkshireman through and through and doesn’t venture on many trips to the Knavesmire without his supreme commander in wife Maureen, the daughter of the late, great Lester Piggott.
This time, however, things will be different for the Somerville Lodge maestro.
Earlier this week, Maureen broke two bones in her neck in a fall on the gallops after her horse was spooked by a dog.
SATURDAY NAP: I loved the way SNASH (2.50 Ripon) won at Ayr last time and I think he can follow up in the Great St Wilfrid.
On Thursday Maureen was sent to London for an operation on her neck, and while she is expected to make a complete recovery, she will have a period in intensive care.
The Yorkshire crowd will no doubt be pumped for the Haggas team and Baaeed, who steps up to a mile and a quarter for the first time in Wednesday’s Group 1 highlight.
Unbeaten in nine starts, the colt is out to emulate his sensational sire Sea The Stars who landed the prize in 2009 at odds of 1-4 under the brilliant Mick Kinane.
Taking on the four-year-old will be Mishriff, who flopped after a slow start when last seen in the King George at Ascot.
However, John and Thady Gosden’s inmate is the defending champion and put up his career best effort at York in 2021 when lapping Haggas’s talented Alenquer.
Mishriff fluffed his exit from the stalls in the Eclipse at Sandown as well, but if he gets away on terms he’s no mug.
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Four days of York on ITV promise to be truly special, and while I expect the roof to be raised for Baaeed, there might be little point building a new one with Stradivarius set to take part in Friday’s Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup!
It might just be the last time we see Bjorn Nielsen’s terrific stayer, who at the age of eight will be having his 35th start. He’s covered more than 70 miles in his career and banged in 20 wins.
Stradivarius, set to be partnered by Andrea Atzeni, is also unbeaten in six appearances at York, including a super battling head success over Spanish Mission this time last year.
I’ll be sporting a yellow tie – the colour of his cap – on Friday to support the Strad in recognition of all he has done for racing.
There is not a single racegoer who doesn’t love him to bits, for all that we still don’t know what his ideal racing surface is! Remember that 10-length destroying of Nayef Road in the 2020 Ascot Gold Cup came on soft.
Chappers’ ITV Racing tips
1.55 Victory Dance
3.00 Dance Fever
3.35 Primo Bacio EW
1.40 New Definition
2.50 Snash EW NAP
2.10 Australian Angel
3.18 Lord Rapscallion
The other dazzling Group 1 highlight at York will be the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes on Friday, and many eyes will be on the up-and-coming Royal Aclaim, out to provide James Tate with a first taste of success at racing’s highlest level.
She lacks experience, having been seen only three times, but she’s looked impressive at Newcastle, Bath and this track last time.
This is a huge step up in class from defeating Mondammej, but Tate is expecting huge things. It’s fair to say the five furlong speedsters are not a vintage bunch.
Another filly who gets the blood boiling is Dramatised, the youngster due to take part in Thursday’s SkyBet Lowther Stakes which carries Group 2 status.
A daughter of Showcasing trained by Karl Burke, Dramatised scored at Newmarket first time before landing the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot with authority.
The form of that race as not really worked out, but Burke knows a good one and is sure Dramatised is destined for the top.
One horse who will not be at York is Emily Upjohn, dismal when last seen at Ascot and once a possible for the Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks.
However, the race is set to include the sensational Alpinista, a big Arc fancy after banging in Group 1 after Group 1 for Sir Mark Prescott and Luke Morris. The Heath House handler is always a good man to interview on the big days.
It promises to be a gorgeous week at York and this paper will give the meeting the coverage it deserves. Fingers crossed for all the stars – and everything crossed for Maureen. Yeeehaaa!
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