William Haggas was set for a great afternoon at Newbury with Baaeed’s highly anticipated return to the Al Shabaq Lockinge Stakes and it couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, as Tiber Flow won the Listed Carnarvon Stakes under Tom Marquand.
The Caravaggio colt, owned and bred by Jon and Julia Aisbitt, made late progress in the six furlong contest to tie down longtime leader Hierarchy as the final furrow approached, and had to pull out all the stops to deny the late flourish of Rizg, who powered the stands rail under Marquand’s wife, Hollie Doyle, to score from a short header.
The 15-8 favourite, who won his first three all-weather starts before failing to recover in a test in precious conditions at Newcastle on Good Friday, is as tough as it gets.
His trainer believes he will be able to tackle the hubbub of Royal Ascot, given his past history of overcoming adversity, and then race either in the Commonwealth Cup or go the extra yard in the Jersey Stakes.
Haggas revealed: “He’s getting better and he’s got ability. If you look at his close hind leg, he’s got all this white hair on it. This horse had four general anesthesias in six weeks. At the time, we thought we were going to lose him, that was before he ran away.
“He had knee surgery, then he had an infection in his hock, so he had a general for the knee surgery, then they had to flush twice, so he’s a damn tough horse.
“I just think at Newcastle he just didn’t know how to sprint. They injected him with pace at the wrong time and he was a bit off guard and then he came home. He ran around the victory in all weathers, small races and I think he is learning to sprint.
“Hopefully if he comes back he’ll be a 12-1 or 16-1, but he’s the kind of horse that will do well in a race like the Commonwealth Cup.
“Tom thought he left too soon today. We’ll definitely leave him in the Commonwealth Cup and put him in the shirt and we’ll run in one of them.
“Tom felt today he had the speed. One is a group three and the other is a group one and they will both be very competitive.”