Bay Bridge dashed Baaeed's hopes of bowing out unbeaten as he won The Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday
Ascot (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Baaeed’s bid to retire unbeaten ended in disappointment on Saturday as Bay Bridge prevailed in The Champion Stakes at Ascot.
Baaeed, the odds-on favourite to win his 11th race in 11 starts, never threatened as Richard Kingscote steered home the Michael Stoute-trained Bay Bridge to take the honours.
Baaeed battled away under Jim Crowley but could finish only fourth.
Crowley, 44, blamed the ground for the defeat but said Baaeed – a horse he had told AFP is a once in a lifetime ride – had lost nothing in defeat.
“As soon as I went for him (I knew I was in trouble),” said Crowley.
“In the past, it has just been instant. It just wasn’t there, simple as that. I pressed the button today and it wasn’t there.”
Crowley said it was sad for Baaeed to end his career with his first defeat, failing to bow out as the legendary Frankel did 10 years ago in the same race with his 14th win in 14 races.
“It’s unbelievable the journey we have been on,” said Crowley.
“He is a very special horse and it is sad that he does not finish his career unbeaten as we have come so far.
“Baaeed has captured the imagination and I’m sorry we couldn’t do it today. He is a special horse still.”
For Kingscote and veteran trainer Stoute it was a second memorable victory after they combined to win the Epsom Derby in June with Desert Crown.
Sadly, Desert Crown suffered an injury and had to be rested for the remainder of the season and Bay Bridge too had to be put in cotton wool due to a knock.
Stoute managed to restore him to top form for the right moment, though the 76-year-old Barbados-born trainer had not expected to win his third Champion Stakes.
“Bay Bridge was very brave,” said Stoute.
“I’m absolutely thrilled. The staff have done a great job with this horse and we are delighted.
“I thought Baaeed was unbeatable, but I thought he had a great chance of being second as he was in terrific shape.
“I hope me and William are still friends!
“I’m delighted to have won the Derby and the Champion Stakes. The staff has been brilliant and it is down to them.”
Kingscote said not being afraid to take on the best had paid off.
“I guess we came here knowing we have a nice horse but we are taking on one of the best around,” said Kingscote.
“You cannot be afraid of one horse.”