𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐬𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐩𝐬 𝐮𝐩 𝐭𝐨 𝟐,𝟎𝟎𝟎𝐦 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐥𝐨𝐜𝐤 𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐫
The best racehorse in the world ventures outside of his comfort zone on Wednesday at York, where he may make his penultimate start of his career.
With yet another straightforward victory in the Group One Sussex Stakes at the Glorious Goodwood Festival last month, star miler Baaeed increased his unbeaten run to nine. However, this week, when he takes on 2,000 meters for the first time in the Group One Juddmonte International, he faces a step into the unknown.
After winning five straight Group One races over 1,600 meters, the four-year-old has nothing left to prove over that distance, and his connections want to increase his stud value by picking up a victory at the top level over farther.
Though he has an impressive record in large races, Baaeed will undoubtedly start as the favorite for this race. If he ever experiences defeat in his career, it may very well be at the hands of Mishriff.
This five-year-old horse, trained by John Gosden, won this event by six lengths the previous year and, if he shows up in similar form, would at the very least give Baaeed a serious scare. He was ranked the joint-best horse in Europe at the time.
There is also every reason to believe that Mishriff, who had problems running and nearly won the Eclipse two races ago, is still in excellent shape this season. Additionally, Mishriff's abnormally slow start in the King George last time out over 2,400 meters caught rookie jockey James Doyle off guard.
The time may be right for Baaeed's bubble to burst given Mishriff's best form over this course at this trip and Baaeed's lack of significant competition in the mile class.
In another race on the York schedule, the Group Two Great Voltigeur Stakes (2,400m), which is owned by renowned billionaire Boniface Ho Ka-kui, features a Hong Kong entry.
The three-year-old was narrowly defeated by the probable favorite Secret State at Royal Ascot in June but hasn't placed outside the top two in any of his last five starts.
Deauville Legend has maintained a strong form and will go on to greener pastures at the conclusion of the British racing season, with a possible trip to Australia on the horizon as his owner looks for greater prize money.
Aikhal, an Irish raider who has improved every time he steps up in distance and enters this race off the back of a strong Group Three victory, may not be wise to overlook the claims of Secret State, who will be difficult to defeat after following up his facile victory at Ascot with another at Goodwood.
The Group Three Acomb Stakes (1,400m), the other Group race at York, has drawn a field of nine two-year-old colts.
It might pay to take a chance on Irish raider Indestructible, who improved from a promising debut to win by five lengths at Windsor last time under Silvestre de Sousa, who will be working in Hong Kong next season. The field is strong with all nine runners having won previously.