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Jim Crowley: “I believe I’m on the best horse – he’s unbelievable”

| 16.08.2022

Coral ambassador Jim Crowley previews his long-awaited ride in the Juddmonte International on day one of the Ebor Festival

York 3.35 – Baaeed

I’ve only got the one ride on the opening day of this year’s Ebor meeting, but what a ride it is. I’ve been looking forward to this since Goodwood, and probably even before that, as this has been the target pretty much all season, the race where he steps up from a mile for the first time.

As a full brother to Hukum – a winner over 1 mile 5 furlongs – on breeding Baaeed should have no issues with this extended mile and a quarter trip, but of course we won’t know for sure until we try it. What I do know is, he relaxes well in his races, and he has always given me the impression he’ll stay further than a mile, and stay well.

The opposition is headed by Mishriff, an impressive winner of this race last season, and a horse who is at his best at this trip, and he sets a very high standard here. Native Trail is another class act, a Classic winner who got the trip well in the Coral-Eclipse last time and finished a very good third that day, so I’m under no illusions, this is a proper test.

If they go hard early on, I can sit off the pace and use his explosive turn of foot, but if they do go slowly, that wouldn’t bother me either, as I believe I’m on the best horse, and as long as I have him in the right place, York is an uncomplicated track and the best horse should win.

I wouldn’t want an absolute deluge of rain to hit the track, as testing ground would test his stamina even more, but I’m not that worried about that happening, and this horse does have form on going from good to soft to good to firm, so something dramatic would have to happen to really turn things heavy.

It’s not ideal that a few of William Haggas’ horses haven’t scoped clean in recent days, but they’re on top of things, and Baaeed wouldn’t be running if they weren’t 100% happy with him, so that won’t be on my mind.

It also won’t be on my mind that this fellow is unbeaten and stepping up in trip in the same race Frankel did for the first time. My job is to put the horse in the best position in the race, and give him the best opportunity to win.

Do I feel pressure? Not as much as I thought I would, as I believe I’m on the best horse, and the feeling I’ve got from him every time I’ve ridden him is unbelievable, I’ve got so much confidence in this horse.

I’ve won this race before, on Ulysses, who was a very impressive winner here, and a top-class horse on his day. If things go as smoothly this time as they did that year, then happy days!

Am I enjoying riding Baaeed? Yes, I am, and I know we’ll miss him when he’s gone, but the best part each time is the walk back in after he’s won. Straight after the winning line, that’s the best feeling, and please God, I’ll have that feeling again here.

Juddmonte International: All you need to know

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Andrew McDermott

Andrew is a sports betting content journalist at PA Media. He is a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan but when he isn't reminiscing about their Premier League days he is also a junior cricket coach and enjoys cycling.