Jim Crowley arrived here on Saturday with one winner on Champions Day to his name from 22 rides at the meeting, but he left as the first jockey to win three races on Britain’s richest day at the track. It was a 215-1 treble that included Group One wins on Baaeed, in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and Eshaada in the Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.
Baaeed’s brave defeat of Palace Pier, the 6-4 favourite, was the undoubted highlight of Crowley’s afternoon, as it extended the three-year-old’s unbeaten record to six races in a career that started in early June. Crowley pushed him into a narrow lead with just over a furlong to run and William Haggas’s colt held on bravely as Palace Pier and Frankie Dettori tried to force their way in front in the closing stages.
“Baaeed could be a world champion,” Crowley said. “He’s just a beast, he keeps getting better. It was magical, people forget he’s come such a long way in a short space of time. It’s a great buzz to ride a horse that good.
“I’m pretty sure he would stay further if he had to. He’s got a great mind, there doesn’t seem to be any chinks in his armour. He travels so well, the stronger they go in a race the better for him. He’s got a very good turn of foot as well.”
All of Crowley’s winners were in the famous blue and white colours of the late Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum’s Shadwell Stud operation, which is now being overseen by his daughter, Sheikha Hissa.
“I know Sheikh Hamdan will be looking down, smiling, and I owe him everything,” Crowley said. “He gave me this opportunity, he chose me to be his jockey. Although he’s not here to see it, it’s nice to be able to repay him.”
Eshaada was the surprise success in Crowley’s treble as she had finished a long way behind Snowfall, the odds-on favourite for the Fillies & Mares Stakes, when seventh and last in the Yorkshire Oaks in August.
She had finished an unlucky second in the Ribblesdale Stakes at the Royal meeting and the return to Ascot also brought a return to form, as she held on by a short-head from Albaflora after a sustained duel through the final furlong with Snowfall three-and-a-half lengths away in third.
The Champion Stakes also had an upset as Cedric Rossi’s Sealiway held off a strong charge by Dubai Honour in the final furlong to win by three-quarters of a length, with Mac Swiney, the Irish 2,000 Guineas winner, third home at 40-1.
Mishriff, the 13-8 favourite, finished fourth while Adayar (5-2), the Derby winner, was fifth.
Mickael Barzalona, Sealiway’s jockey, has enjoyed plenty of top-level success in France since his memorable win on Pour Moi in the Derby in 2011, but this was only his fourth Group One in Britain since his Classic victory at Epsom.
“It’s great to be back in the big time and be with this horse since the beginning,” he said. “He deserved to prove his talent like he did. He showed plenty of stamina in the Arc, but today he showed plenty of speed.
1.00 Impulsive One
2.05 Cobblers Dream
2.40 Mercian Prince (nb)
3.15 Silver Streak
3.50 Hawk’s Well (nap)
1.45 Minella Trump
4.05 Bari Breeze
4.40 Gordon’s Jet
5.15 A Different Kind
“Pour Moi’s Derby is something that will always be in my mind, but I’m very happy for today and hopefully there will be plenty more.”
The soft ground-loving Trueshan took the Long Distance Cup for the second year running under Hollie Doyle, with the former Gold Cup winner Stradivarius back in second in what could prove to be his final race.
Frankie Dettori, Stradivarius’s rider, was far from happy with the performance of Dylan Brown McMonagle on Joseph O’Brien’s runner Baron Samedi, suggesting “the kid in front of me did everything possible to get me beat”.
McMonagle dismissed the criticism. “I pulled out for a run and didn’t have enough to go through with it,” he said. “That’s race riding and that’s how it goes.”
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